Research

You are here

Construction Personal Protective Equipment for the Female Workforce

In 2015, women accounted for only 2.2% of production occupations in construction, which is one-sixth the level of “all other industries.” One of the challenges facing women in the construction industry is finding personal protective equipment (PPE) that fits properly. This is a serious issue because PPE that does not fit properly will not adequately protect against occupational hazards and may increase the risk for illnesses, injuries and death. For example, oversized protective clothing can lead to tripping hazards or  get caught in machinery and result in a serious injury. Poorly fitted fall protection harnesses may lead to other injuries or may not be effective in the event of a fall. Similarly, gloves that are too big put a worker at risk of coming in contact with chemicals that can cause dermatitis or other skin diseases.  

Although OSHA Construction Standards for PPE do not require employers to ensure that the PPE provided fits each employee, doing so will ensure their employees, including female employees, are protected.

The following list of examples of commercially-available PPE has been compiled to help employers and women in the trades find PPE that accommodates female anthropometry.  Download a PDF version of the list here.


CONSTRUCTION FOOTWEAR:

CONSTRUCTION FOOTWEAR COLD CLIMATE ACCESSORIES:

EAR PROTECTION:

HARNESSES FOR PERSONAL FALL ARREST SYSTEMS:

HARD HATS:

HIGH VISIBILITY CLOTHING:

FLAME RESISTANT CLOTHING:

SAFETY GLASSES:

SAFETY GLOVES:

MISCELLANEOUS:

Note: CPWR does not endorse any specific equipment or product. Many factors influence the effectiveness of PPE including maintenance and training, the appropriateness of the PPE for the task, and manufacturer instructions/requirements.