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PROPERTY & CASUALTY
JUN 19, 2019
The Right Fit: The Importance of PPE Designed for Women
The numbers are astounding;
just 9.9 percent of people in the construction industry are women
, and only
13.3 percent of those women are tradespeople
. Construction is currently a male-dominated field, but as the profession grows, an expected 25 percent of the industry will be women by 2020.This means changes need to be made in the industry.
Right now, being a woman in construction can be dangerous. Most personal protection equipment (PPE) is designed for the build and stature of an average-sized male. For example, women risk getting their fingers caught in equipment due to ill-fitting gloves, or head injuries because of loose hard hats or construction helmets. They may even fall by tripping over boots that are too big for their feet.
The PPE women utilize on the jobsite is oftentimes so uncomfortable they will attempt to alter the clothing for comfort and mobility. While the clothing may reduce productivity due to discomfort, altering the clothing may take away the “protection” aspect of PPE. PPE is tested as is — changing it from how it has been deemed safe can cause harm to workers and fail to protect them in a safety incident.
There are some companies, such as Charm and Hammer, which are beginning to take a stand. The company produces gender-inclusive equipment ranging from gloves to tool suspenders. Producing properly fitting equipment demonstrates a proactive commitment to safety. Companies that take employees’ PPE needs into account may experience fewer losses and a more committed workforce.
As more women enter the construction industry, it will become even more essential to develop the appropriate PPE. By creating a safe, more inclusive environment for women, their participation in the field of construction will increase, providing more tradespeople on jobsites to help fill the available and opening jobs. For more information and resources about women in construction, visit the
National Association of Women in Construction’s website.