More Women Than Ever Are Working In Construction And Their PPE Still Doesn’t Fit
March 8, 2023
Women are not only slowly breaking down the occupation divide in fields like tech and aerospace, but also in industry and trade. They represent approximately 11% of the construction workforce, which is the highest share on record according to the National Association of Women in Construction. The number of women in construction has been steadily on the rise since 2012. It is great to see these numbers continue to trend upwards, but as workplace diversity increases, garment shapes, sizes and anatomy-specific needs are still not being met.
Many times, women must use the same PPE as men. This leads to loose-fitting gloves, masks or goggles that aren’t sealed properly, and baggy protective clothing that can become a hazard. While women often attempt to tailor their PPE to fit better, it can affect the inherent safety properties of the gear. Employers should always provide their workers with the correct garment size, but often they will only order one or two common sizes in bulk, creating hazards on the job for employees that do not fit those sizes. When PPE is uncomfortable, it causes workers to wear it incorrectly or not wear it at all. So, women are left with little to no solutions when they are provided improper PPE.
Recognizing that ill-fitted garments jeopardize safety; a growing number of manufacturers have started to create PPE suitable for the woman’s anatomy. As more safety gear has been updated over the years to accommodate different sizes, it’s up to the employer to provide the correct sizes. There are now more sizes for safety gloves, like 5/XXS and 6/XS, targeting smaller hands. For instance, Honeywell CoreShield™ and Honeywell Perfect Fit lines also come in small sizes. Having properly fitted gloves helps with dexterity, increases productivity and efficiency, instead of getting in the way.
While it’s great to see a wider range of sizes available, another way to provide well-fitted PPE is to find adjustable options. This allows workers to customize the fit of their PPE so it can protect them more comfortably. The Uvex Avatar™ line of safety glasses come with an adjustable and flexible ratchet temple with a 15-degree adjustment range. This gives workers the ability to tailor their safety glasses using eight points of adjustability to ensure they stay in place all day. Another form of PPE that is often customizable are hard hats. The Honeywell North Zone™ N10 hard hat was designed with multiple adjustment points, so users can customize the fit to suit their own preferences. Hard hats are so important to wear while on jobsites and providing an adjustable hard hat makes for an individualized fit, so it won’t budge.
Honeywell provides a broad range of industrial safety products to help organizations manage workplace safety in an increasingly complex world. Many of our products like harnesses and earmuffs are adjustable and come in wide size ranges to fit the needs and anatomy of your workers. You can trust us to be at the forefront of materials technology, industry trends, standards, and regulatory requirements. Everyone needs PPE, and more importantly PPE that fits. Check out our comprehensive PPE solutions and see how you can better fit the women on your team to reduce hazards on your job site.
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