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Research shows not enough female PPE in energy sector

Research shows not enough female PPE in energy sector

Females working in the energy sector struggle to find well-fitting personal protection equipment (PPE). In general, workwear is designed for men, which doesn’t take into account the differences between male and female bodies.

Appropriate PPE is vital for allowing workers to complete their tasks safely and successfully. Yet, finding appropriate workwear remains a challenge for many female workers, one which is even deterring women from entering and staying in roles in the energy industry.

All too often, it is assumed that women can simply opt for men’s PPE in smaller sizes. However, women tend to have narrower shoulders, larger chests, and wider hips, meaning workwear that’s been designed to fit men’s bodies is inadequate.

Accessories such as gloves and boots need to be smaller for women, as they typically have smaller hands and feet than their male counterparts.

These differences in body types mean workwear and equipment need to be specifically designed to suit the shape of women’s bodies. Ill-fitting workwear poses a number of potential risks:

  1. The extra material on oversized garments could get caught in machinery.
  2. Unsuitably sized gloves hinder a person’s handling of equipment and materials
  3. Ill-fitting headgear, including eye and ear protection, could slip and cause accidents.
  4. Footwear that has been designed for men could cause issues for females, such as steel toes protection that doesn’t properly shield the toes. Poor fitting footwear is also a trip hazard.
  5. Safety vests and harnesses that have been made for men can increase the risk of serious injury when worn by women.

In failing to provide female employees with appropriate PPE, businesses are putting their workers at risk. This can lead to injury, an increase in absences, and negative impacts on individual wellbeing.

At worse, female workers may choose not to wear PPE at all if it isn’t designed to adequately protect them against work related risks, which increases the potential for injuries.

When staff members are provided with well-fitting PPE, they are more confident in their jobs, allowing them to perform at their optimum. Employers should discuss a particular worker’s needs with them, so that they can understand their requirements with regards to size and body shape. Additionally, companies who demonstrate that they take into account women’s specific needs will have more chance in attracting and retaining female employees.

At Wearwell, we design and create female appropriate workwear with women’s needs in mind. To discuss you’re workwear requirements, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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