Women in education sector at greater risk of workplace violence

But men in health care more likely to have lost-time claims due to assault

Women in education sector at greater risk of workplace violence

Women working in Ontario’s education sector are four to six times more likely than their male counterparts to require time off work because of being physically assaulted on the job, according to a recent study by the Institute for Work & Health (IWH).


The study also shows that men working in Ontario’s health-care sector are almost twice as likely as female workers to have lost-time workers’ compensation claims due to assaults. However, the yearly number of cases is declining more sharply among men than women in this sector, Toronto-based IWH said. As a result, the sex/gender gap in the risk of workplace violence is narrowing among health-care workers. Outside the health-care and education sectors, risks of workplace violence are similar for both men and women.


“When it comes to workplace violence, our research suggests that the differing risks among men and women depend on sector and type of violence,” said IWH associate scientific director Peter Smith. “Our research also found that the rates of workplace violence among men and women are changing over time, with both workers’ compensation and emergency department data suggesting that workplace violence is increasing among women overall but remaining stable among men.”


Although workplace violence prevention efforts have tended to focus on health-care workers, the risk of experiencing violence has been rising for over a decade among women in education — now surpassing risk levels for both men and women in health care, noted Smith.


During the study period, yearly rates of injury claims among female education workers climbed from around 89 per 100,000 full-time equivalents (FTE) in 2002 to 247 in 2015. In comparison, rates of injury claims among men in education rose from about 18 per 100,000 FTE in 2002 to 47 in 2015.


Rates of claims among men in health care went down from 185 per 100,000 FTE in 2002 to 175 in 2015; they also declined for women in health care, from 105 to 99 in the same period.