There are 3 leading causes of death for men in the U.S. The first and second leading causes of death for men are heart disease and cancer, respectively. The third is unintentional injury.
Why is this the case?
There are a few theories as to why the rate of unintentional injury deaths is higher for men than women.
Statistically, younger men are more at risk of being injured unintentionally. Between ages 1 and 44, accidental death stands as the leading cause of death in males.
Social masculinity “norms” possibly play a big role in men being unintentionally injured at a higher rate—specifically, the stereotype that men have to be “macho,” as well as the societal promotion of a man’s risk for reward behavioral system. In popular culture, being independent and strong are qualities that men are rewarded for, while asking for help is seen as weakness and shunned.
Society begins fitting boys into this role from an early age. Young boys are expected to play rough and showing emotion if (and more likely when) they’re hurt is frowned upon. “Tough guy” syndrome is alive and well.
Men are more likely to have traditionally more dangerous and deadly jobs than women. This makes men nearly 10 times more likely to die while at work than women.
For example, industries that historically employ more men include:
- Commercial fishing
- Public safety
Unsurprisingly, these same professions are also considered to be among the most dangerous jobs in the U.S.
Jumping back to gender roles, these types of jobs require more physical labor and were historically considered “man’s work.” What’s more, men are less likely to show and/or tell a supervisor when they’re hurt. This often leads to men pushing themselves even harder to cover up their exertion, leading to overexertion in order to keep to the status quo.
Another factor that might contribute to men being killed unintentionally on the job at higher numbers is peer pressure. Often, some men won’t follow guidelines for safety precautions (such as wearing protective gear and using equipment correctly) because they are concerned about how they could be viewed by their co-workers and peers.
Substance abuse might also be a contributing factor to why more men than women die unintentionally. In addition to the normal variety of substance abuse that can contribute to workplace injuries, there’s also the stigma surrounding mental health aspects to contend with that particularly affect many men.
Men are less likely to seek medical health for mental illness (including anxiety and depression) than women, according to research. More often, they will turn to drugs and/or alcohol to attempt to mask their mental health symptoms.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, men are 24 percent less likely to seek medical treatment than women if they deem the visit a waste of time. In cases of mental health where there are no visible symptoms, men receive treatment at lower rates than women.
Disparities in workers’ compensation
A deciding factor behind the disparities in workers’ compensation claims between men and women lies in the industries they work in. As seen above, men have been historically drawn to more dangerous and labor-intensive jobs where the likelihood of being injured or killed is inherently higher. For example, men dominate the fields of public service (i.e. firefighters, police officers and paramedics), as well as construction work.
Age also plays a significant role in the difference between workers’ compensation claims among men and women. In instances where women working in a male-dominated industry are injured, the women are typically younger workers. This youthful advantage means that when women are injured, they typically recover faster while their older male counterparts require a more lengthy recovery time.
Do I qualify for benefits?
Chances are if you’re injured on the job in Arizona that your injury is covered by workers’ compensation. Since workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, as long as your injury is work-related, your injury should be covered—regardless of who (or what) is at fault for the unintentional injury.
In order to qualify for workers’ comp benefits, you must meet the following requirements:
- You’re classified as an employee. (Independent contractors and volunteers typically are ineligible, but still have some rights.)
- Your illness or injury is work-related.
- Your employer carries workers’ comp insurance. (Most employers in Arizona are required, but not all—so keep yourself informed.)
- You meet the deadline(s) established by the state. (In Arizona, injured workers have 1 year to file a claim.)
Steps to take immediately after an injury
After being hurt at work, there are 3 important steps that must be taken in order to receive workers’ comp benefits.
- Seek medical attention. This is priority #1. You should receive medical care regardless of whether or not you think the injury is severe. By doing so, you establish a clear record of your injury, as well as ensure that you’re not more severely injured than you think.
- Notify your employer. Once you’ve been evaluated by a doctor, you need to notify your workplace—in writing—that you were injured. This accomplishes 2 things. First, your employer is notified of your injury and can begin processing your claim. Second, you continue your record of injury.
Pro tip: Once your employer is notified, you should take the time to put all of the details of how you were injured on paper. Do this as soon as possible after the injury to ensure that you remember as many details as possible.
Important elements of this statement include:
- Exact date and time of the accident
- How you were injured (what body parts)
- How the injury occurred
Having this information written down will further establish your injury record, as well as provide your attorney with important details in the event that your claim is denied.
- Consult an attorney. Workers’ compensation is a complex system that can work against you if any steps in the process are missed. For this reason, if you are injured at work then consider hiring an experienced attorney who is familiar with the workers’ compensation process.