PPE for Women: Why One Size Does Not Fit All

PPE for Women

PPE for Women: Why One Size Does Not Fit All

Despite the increasing percentage of women employed in construction, manufacturing and healthcare industries, finding adequate PPE can still be a challenge for female workers. As we know, safety is a crucial issue for all businesses and every employer must make sure that their staff is provided with well-fitting equipment that can guarantee the best protection under all circumstances. This is a relatively easy task for male workers – thanks to the numerous options specifically designed for them – however the same cannot be said for their female colleagues. Today we will analyse this concerning issue and we will discover why PPE for women must be different.

Some statistics

According to a survey published by Prospect, 48.5% of women stated that their PPE trousers fit poorly – compared to 16.6% of male respondents – and 44.7% of them said the same about their coveralls. Female healthcare workers also reported that “goggles slip, gowns are too long, face shields push against breasts, and respirators don’t fit their faces”. Despite the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations requiring all employers to provide their workers with suitable equipment, these surveys demonstrate that this is often not the case. On the contrary, poor fitting PPE can be the source of hazards, with 57% of women stating that their PPE sometimes or significantly hampered their work.

Why PPE for women must be different

The main issue is that most PPE manufacturers still tend to design their products for the average-sized male worker, without considering women’s needs. Women’s bone structure is generally smaller than men’s, which means that women generally have smaller hands, feet, and facial features. Many employers think that small and extra small men sizes will do the job, but most of the time they will still have a loose fit on a woman because their body shape is different. This is the reason why female workers are often forced to alter the equipment they are given – for example by punching extra holes – with the risk of compromising its performance. Baggy and poor fitting gears can lead to reduced mobility and dexterity, obstructed vision, tripping and falling. Moreover, it is very difficult to find adequate protective gear during pregnancy, making the lack of adequate PPE for women not only an urgent safety issue but also gender equality issue.

PPE for Women
PW3 Women’s Stretch Work Trouser
PPE for Women
PW3 Hi-Vis Women’s Softshell
PPE for Women
Coolviz Ultra Maternity Polo Shirt

What you can do

Safety is a priority for everyone and finding the right PPE for women cannot be optional. It is an employer’s responsibility to keep their workers protected at all times, so here’s a list of steps that can be taken to make sure that the PPE you buy for your female staff is suitable:

  • avoid suppliers who do not provide the same size range for both men and women.
  • make sure that the suppliers you choose have properly assessed their equipment.
  • Make your workers try on different options and sizes to ensure you select the best fitting one.
  • Make sure all your workers try the equipment on even when its considered unisex or one-size.
  • Ask for feedback on the PPE fitting and performance and – should it be inadequate – be ready to replace it.

Now that you know why using the right PPE for women is a crucial issue for every business, browse our website or contact us to find high quality Ladieswear that will keep your female workers always safe and protected.

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