Women only make up about 10% of those working in the construction industry. As such, the majority of products are designed with men in mind, leaving women few options when it comes to personal protection equipment (PPE).
It’s not just a matter of equal representation, though that is important. PPE that doesn’t fit properly can lead to increased risks for injuries when on a jobsite. Larger items can snag on tools or equipment, which can lead to falls. An ill-fitting harness will likely result in an injury during or after a fall.
Thankfully, more and more companies are working on PPE specifically for women. Below are some items female contractors can use without having to settle for men’s sizes or unisex equipment.
These eye protectors are designed for slimmer faces, being about 6% smaller than the Pyramex I-Force eyewear. Like other models, the Slim version features ratcheting quick release interchangeable temples and straps, are fog resistant and pass MIL-PRF 32432 High Velocity Impact Standards.
FALL SAFETY HARNESSES
The FT-One Fit full body harness from FallTech features a patent-pending adjustable sub-pelvic strap allowing women to adjust it for her shape without having to deal with sizing up or excess straps. The harnesses include abrasion-resistant shoulder padding and Comfort Legs™ lateral leg strap construction to improve mobility and comfort. Complies with ANSI Z359.11-2014 and comes in seven different sizes.
872 Full Body Harness
FrenchCreek Fall Safety released a full body harness designed for women using a combination of lightweight synthetic webbing and comfort padding. The leg straps are designed for female fits and includes padded waist and leg pads. The harness is ANSI Z359.1 compliant and meets or exceeds all OSHA Requirements. Comes in seven different sizes.
Ms. Miller E570 Fall Arrest Harness
First introduced in 1998, the Ms. Miller E570 fall arrest safety harness was made to fit women, thanks to being designed by two female engineers. It’s modeled after a rock climbing harness, using uniquely designed shoulder straps at the side and away from the chest instead of cross straps as well as hip support. Comes in x-small/xx-small, small/medium and universal sizing. The Ms. Miller meets ANSI A10.32, Z359.1 and CZA Z259.
Multi-Purpose Work Glove
Dovetail Workwear is a brand founded by women that creates products specifically for women. Among their products is the multi-purpose work gloves, designed to fit women’s hands. The breathable gloves feature reinforced panels, touch-sensitive index fingers and are available in sizes x-small to large.
Women’s Original Carbon Black Edition
Mechanix offers a variety of gloves with women in mind. In celebration of its 30th year, the company released the Women’s Carbon Black Edition of its The Original gloves. The visual design conveys a lightweight and protective quality and includes an adjustable thermoplastic rubber closure to secure the glove at the wrist. The no-slip grip is paired with touchscreen compatible synthetic leather.
Similar to Dovetail, SeeHerWork was founded by a woman wanting proper workwear for women in the market. Along with items like gloves and hi-vis apparel, SeeHerWork offers a couple of helmets, including the Bullard S51. The lightweight helmets feature four-point suspension and a low center of gravity for excellent balance. They meet multiple safety requirements, including ANSI/ISEA Z89.1, and come in white or orange.
SafetyGirl II Steel Toe Work Boot
SafetyGirl is a workwear site maintained by women, for women, offering a wide variety of safety gear and footwear. Case in point, the SafetyGirl II Steel Toe Work Boot is a steel-toed, water-resistant boot designed with women in mind. The boots are ASTM F2413-11 I/75 C/75 compliant and have outsole grips that are oil resistant. They offer them in multiple colors, including pink, black, and tan.
Built as an outdoor-inspired hiker, the Dover is part of the KEEN Utility “Tradeswomen Tested” program dedicated to changing the status quo in safety footwear and leveraging the insights of female skilled trades professionals in a variety of fields. Like other KEEN Utility boots, Dover boots feature KEEN KONNECTFIT Heel Locking System along with the KEEN Utility LUFTcell midsole. The toes are a non-metallic carbon-fiber that are 15% lighter than steel.
Moab Vertex Mid Waterproof Comp Toe Work Boot
Merrell has multiple offerings in women’s work footwear, including the Moab Vertex. The shoes use a non-metallic, lightweight protection for toes and even boasts brief periods of protection during direct contact with temperatures meeting or exceeding 500 degrees Fahrenheit.