What is the PPE Gap? Well, it is the gap in the design of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which leads to poor or ill-fitting PPE. These ill-fitting safety control measures can make women ill or injured. Current research shows:
“…that women working in hazardous industries often do not have access to correctly fitting personal protective equipment (PPE) – and in some cases the PPE can hinder rather than protect.” Occupational Health at Work 2017; 13(6): 32–35 Pg 32
The above quote does makes sense and we have all seen it in action. Have you ever noticed a female road construction worker wearing a reflection safety vest and it is hanging off her shoulder like a crop top in a 1980s Madonna music video? This safety deficiency is all too common because PPE has been only designed to fit men.
This issue being address by one progressive UK Company. Transport for London (TFL) which runs the London Public Transport System, has started to take this significant safety matter into their own hands. They have sourced PPE that fits and doesn’t make females feel that they are children playing dress up on occupation day at the local elementary school.
In the workplace, Occupational Health and Safety hazards don’t discriminate between male and female workers. It is time employers stop discriminating and ensure the female workers who are required to wear PPE for their safety are provided with equipment that fits.
Develop a checklist of common PPE that may not fit female workers adequately. From your list try to research and identify safety equipment suppliers that provide women specific PPE.