18 Apr 2024

A better fit for the future

Badly fitting personal protective equipment (PPE) in the construction industry is compromising the safety of female workers and leaving them “disadvantaged”, it’s been claimed. The sector is trying to attract more women and girls to work in construction but the efforts could be in vain if organisations can’t offer more appropriate kit.

Writing on the Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) website, Beth Holroyd described her experiences of being faced with poorly fitting PPE. She said she didn’t have the confidence “to push back” against the lack of equipment to fit her properly when she started in the industry aged 17. She described wearing “ill-fitting garments” that made her job more difficult and left her in pain.

Beth wrote: “Just as an office provides a secure and comfortable environment for employees to carry out their work, personal protective equipment functions similarly for individuals that are required to work in hazardous environments. PPE is the last line of defence in the hierarchy of hazard controls. Organisations need to ensure that workers feel secure, protected, and at ease while performing their duties – but are also visible to those operating around them.

“In addition to suitable fitting PPE, comfort is a key aspect of well-designed PPE that fits properly and doesn’t impede movement – it ensures that workers can perform their tasks comfortably for extended periods promoting their overall wellbeing and productivity.”

SHP is running a Protection for Everyone campaign, which aims to make PPE more inclusive. Read Beth’s full article.

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