In a study published online Tuesday in Occupational & Environmental Medicine, gender-based differences in occupational exposures were found to be significant – even among men and women in the same occupation.

After collecting and analyzing information from men and women aged 20-64 years, researchers from New Zealand and Great Britain concluded that male workers were two to four times more likely to report exposure to dust and chemical substances (like welding fumes, herbicides, wood dust and solvents), loud noise, irregular hours, night shifts and vibrating tools.

Women, on the other hand, were 30% more likely to report repetitive tasks and working at high speed, and more likely to report exposure to disinfectants, hair dyes and textile dust. They were also more likely to report awkward or tiring positions compared with men in the same occupation.

The researchers said that, because of the substantial difference in occupation exposure patterns between men and women, “the influence of gender should not be overlooked in occupational health research. “

The authors of the study were; Amanda Eng, Andrea 't Mannetje, Dave McLean, Lis Ellison-Loschmann, Soo Cheng and Neil Pearce. It is available online at oem.bmj.com.