Women in the Field – PPE
Comfortable and correctly fitting PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for fuller, smaller, taller, chestier and shorter folks (essentially anyone who isn’t straight shaped) has been an ongoing topic of contention for many years.
Beyond the dismissively waved hands of those saying “why should women get different clothing if they want equality?” (by the way, any people wanting to safety clothing to fit them equally well as everyone else, IS asking for equality) there is a real issue on commercial sites with incorrectly fitting PPE.
High visibility trousers, tops, goggles, hard hats, boots and gloves are just a few items that are compulsory on construction sites, where many excavations take place. Whilst there is always an element of ‘overenthusiastic safety’ 95% of this compulsory equipment is there for exceptionally good reasons. It is, however, hard to adhere correctly to long hours in neon orange, when you can not get your hips, boobs, legs or any other body part comfortably and safely into certain items. It isn’t just comfort that’s an issue, mobility can be severely impaired with ladders, access points, shovelling, lifting and kneeling being problematic.
There are arguments of course, as with anything, of implementation costs. But this is easily counteracted with arguments for health and safety and the money saved on purchases of PPE which, in the long run, isn’t useful in the way it should be to many workers.
The below post references how often this comes up in a variety of professions and addresses the recent NASA complication of the same nature.
I look forward to the day where PPE recognises the needs of any gender (or indeed other requirements) of the diverse community it employs. Have a read and let’s hear what you all think?
Read all about it here