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9 in 10 Job-Related Fatalities Men, Swedish Authorities Blame 'Macho Culture'

© Photo : PixabayConstruction worker
Construction worker - Sputnik International
Out of 44 people who died in job-related accidents in 2017 in Sweden, 41 were men, while only 3 were women. The Swedish Work Environment Authority, however, has attributed this tilted gender distribution to men's attitudes and ways, rather than occupational hazards in the traditionally male-dominated professions.

With nine in ten people dying in occupational accidents being men, the Swedish Work Environment Authority put the blame on the victims themselves, holding the so-called "macho culture" responsible, national broadcaster SVT reported.

Men's overrepresentation in workplace accidents is nothing new and has been attributed to their dominance in the construction, transport, agriculture and forestry industries, where occupational hazards are highest. Approximately half of all fatal accidents were vehicle-related. Another common cause was falling from a height. Nevertheless, "gender norms" and "macho culture" was identified as the main reason why men constitute the majority of fatalities.

According to report "Gender perspective on occupational accidents" by Gunilla Olofsdotter of the Mid Sweden University on behalf of the Swedish Work Environment Authority, men are governed by a dangerous macho culture that encourages risk-taking. The victims have thus allegedly exposed themselves to a higher risk for the sake of proving their masculinity.

"The research shows that in some cases, gender and occupational ideals can be derived from an industrial workers' tradition, where physical strength, stamina, ability to withstand pain and practical skills are important ingredients. Therefore, it is important that employers and managers have a specific gender perspective in mind to identify specific risks," Erna Zelmin-Ekenhem of the Work Environment Authority explained.

A previous dissertation on gender perspective in mining stressed that miners still maintained a "machismo-based professional ideal," a tradition that emphasized stamina and physical durability.

READ MORE: Gender Bender? Swedish Sexual Equality 'Robot' Mocked Online

The recent take on men's overrepresentation in fatalities has triggered strong reactions in the social media.

"This is so stupid that I'm lost for words. Send down the feminists into mines and we will see whether the stats get more gender equal," a user wrote on the Facebook page of the Samhällsnytt news outlet.

"It's fun blaming the victims, should we perhaps once again start checking how rape victims were dressed?" another user said wryly.

"Please say this article is fake news. The Work Environment Agency has two important tasks, namely investigating and preventing accidents at the workplace, not studying gender perspectives or other crap. The fact that it's mostly men who get maimed is due to these jobs being dirty, heavy and stressful, which is not a good combo for most women," a third one wrote.

READ MORE: 'Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon': Swedish 'Virgin Street' Renamed to Avoid Sexism

Each year, about 10,000 people suffer serious occupational accidents with at least 14 days' sick leave. About 50 people annually die in work-related incidents. Incidentally, older personnel are more prone to fatal incidents than younger ones, more than half of the victims being aged 50 and over. One explanation is that older people suffer more damage when exposed to the same accident.

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