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Mental health factors affect women's work injury rates

Both employers and employees in Connecticut should know about a new study that suggests a link between mental health factors and an increase in women's work injury rates. Though the authors of the study admit that further research will be necessary to determine why this link exists in the first place, the results are noteworthy nonetheless.

The study was conducted by the Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health. Researchers analyzed the injury claims filed by 314 businesses with the state's largest provider of workers' compensation insurance, Pinnacol Assurance. More than 17,000 employees were represented from industries of all types, holding everything from labor and construction positions to executive positions.

While men were more likely to be injured, they were less likely than women to be influenced by mental or behavioral health condition. Nearly 60 percent of women workers claimed that they were suffering from such conditions prior to their accident while only 33 percent of men made similar claims.

These conditions include anxiety, stress, depression and fatigue. Several factors may explain the results. For example, men generally admit to fewer health concerns, so the percentage of men affected by mental health conditions may be higher. In addition, women may face different stresses from men when at work or home.

Whether they are injured through their own or another's negligence, most employees are eligible for workers compensation benefits. Before filing to receive them, workers may want to consult with an attorney; together, they might determine what amount would be fair after considering the extent of the medical care that the victim received or must receive. The lawyer may then negotiate for that amount. If a settlement is denied, the lawyer may litigate for fair compensation.

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