Women and PPE

Differences in average body dimensions make finding Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) more difficult for women than their male counterparts.

OSHA cites the lack of a full-range PPE line for women—as well as employers’ limited knowledge of PPE designed for women—may account for some of the difficulties.

To add, OSHA states another issue women face with finding appropriately-fitting PPE is the low number of women in industries requiring it. According to OSHA, in 2010 only about 9% of workers [roughly 818,000 in the construction industry] were women.

Further, PPE gear advertised as “unisex” may or may not be appropriate for female workers, as items like gloves need to fit appropriately or wearing them can cause a separate hazard altogether.

The good news is options in PPE apparel for women are growing. Manufacturers have begun designing PPE gear specifically to fit women.

OSHA mandates via section 1910.132(d)(1)(iii) that employers are to select PPE that properly fits each affected employee. [Note: Non-mandatory Appendix B contains an example of procedures that would comply with the requirement for a hazard assessment.]

A great example of how PPE apparel is evolving can be seen in FR garments designed specifically for women. This FR gear is designed to be comfortable, form-fitting and protective, while accommodating the difference in female body dimensions. Safety Smart Gear offers an array of FR gear for women and our product line is only growing!


Posted on December 8, 2014, in ANSI, Hi Vis, Hi Vis Clothing, Reflective Clothing, Safety Eyewear, Safety Vests and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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