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Mental health affects women's risk for work injuries

Employers and employees alike should be aware of a new study that suggests a link between mental health factors and the number of workplace injuries among women. The study was conducted by the Colorado School of Public Health's Center for Health, Work & Environment, but the results hold just as much relevance for those in North Carolina.

The Colorado SPH collaborated with Pinnacol Assurance, the state's largest workers' compensation insurer, in order to analyze the claims of 314 businesses across a range of industries. Over 17,000 employees were represented in the study. Researchers discovered that behavioral health factors like anxiety, fatigue and depression increased women's, not men's, risk for workplace injuries even though men are more likely to be injured at work.

The study also showed that women were more apt to report mental and behavioral health concerns; 60 percent of injured women reported a behavioral health condition prior to the accident compared to just 33 percent of men. The authors of the study say that further research is needed as the results may be influenced by certain social and cultural factors. For example, it's a fact that men are more reticent than women about admitting to health concerns while women may experience different types of stress at work as well as at home.

Even if conditions like fatigue and depression contribute to a workplace accident, employees will still be eligible for compensatory damages. Before they file for workers' compensation benefits, though, they may want to speak with a lawyer in order to make sure they're getting the maximum amount. An attorney can bring together the proof of the accident and help his or her client fill out the necessary paperwork. The lawyer can also negotiate for the agreed-upon settlement, and if the insurance company denies the settlement, he or she can proceed to litigation.

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