Construction is one of the largest industries in the United States, employing 7.6 million workers, or about 5% of the US work force. More women have taken jobs in the construction industry over the last two decades, as they have in other nontraditional industries. In 1997, there were 8.1 million construction workers, of whom 781,000 (9%) were women. Approximately 2% of those were employed as skilled tradeswomen. There is no disputing that construction work is dangerous. Seventeen percent of all fatal on-the-job injuries occur in construction, which is about three times its 6% share of total employment. In this paper, we review the medical literature on the safety and health hazards for women working in the construction industry. Women have a different pattern of fatal injuries and some differences in patterns of nonfatal injuries than men and report unique problems and concerns related to working in this industry.
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