Mental health factors increase work injury rates among women

Female workers in Minnesota should learn about a recent study regarding mental health because the results have a nationwide relevance. Researchers from the Center for Health, Work & Environment, part of the Colorado School of Public Health, teamed up with the state's largest workers compensation insurer to analyze the claims of 314 businesses. Over 17,000 employees holding everything from labor jobs to executive jobs were represented.

Researchers found that women's work injury rates increased wherever mental health conditions were involved, such as fatigue, depression and anxiety. While men had higher injury rates, about 60 percent of women reported having a behavioral health problem prior to the accident, compared to 33 percent of men.

The authors of the study admit that further research will be needed to understand the difference. They speculate that current social and cultural factors may have something to do with it; for example, women tend to be more open about these behavioral health concerns, and their work performance may be affected by different forms of stress at work and at home. At the same time, workers who were injured once were more prone to a second injury, regardless of their sex.

Stress and other mental health concerns usually do not affect one's eligibility for workers compensation benefits. However, those who are filing for benefits may wish to hire a lawyer for help receiving the maximum compensation. Though these benefits are limited by a cap, which differs from state to state, payments could cover things like medical expenses and lost wages. The lawyer might have investigators bring together all the paperwork recording the expenses that the client wants to be compensated for. The lawyer may also handle all negotiations and, in extreme cases, litigate for denied benefits.

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