Comparing physical work exposures between men and women: findings from 65 281 workers in France

Francesca Wuytack, Bradley Evanoff, Ann Marie Dale, Fabien Gilbert, Marc Fadel, Annette Leclerc, Alexis Descatha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are a leading cause of disability and sick leave among workers. Although MSDs are associated with physical exposures, there are gender differences in the prevalence and related disability. This study aimed to compare self-reported physical work exposures by gender for people within the same occupational group. Methods We used cross-sectional data from 65 281 asymptomatic workers aged 18-69 years from the CONSTANCES cohort study (France). We compared 27 physical exposures between men and women in the same occupational groups ( € Profession et Categorie Sociale' group) using Mann-Whitney U tests. Results Men and women performing the same job often reported different levels of exposure. 38 of 365 occupational groups had a gender difference in reported exposure for 10 or more of 27 physical exposures, with men reporting higher exposures in 79% of these jobs. Women reported higher exposures in nursing and other healthcare professions. The probability that a random man had an exposure value higher than a random woman varied widely, from 8% to 92%, and was highly dependent on occupational groups and the specific exposure. Conclusions Men and women working in the same jobs reported different physical exposures for some jobs and some exposures. Further research should further define and explore these reported differences to improve prevention and research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)558-563
Number of pages6
JournalOccupational and Environmental Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2023


  • environmental exposure
  • epidemiology
  • musculoskeletal system
  • occupational health


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