The UK construction industry is undergoing a transformative phase, with increasing recognition of the need for gender inclusivity and safety for all workers. Women in the construction industry have long faced the issue of ill-fitting Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) but at last we’re seeing the seeds of change.
In an article shared by SHP Online, Katy Robinson shared a personal testimony about her realisation that PPE for women was available after six years in the industry, it’s a demonstration of the lack of communication and awareness of gender-specific protective gear and the lack of accountability for those who provide it, an issue which the Considerate Constructors Scheme are hoping to address.
Their recent move to monitor the provision of women’s PPE signals a positive step towards creating a safer and more inclusive construction environment. The initiative emphasises the importance of holding construction companies accountable for providing suitable protective gear for their female workforce.
Companies that opt into the CCS code of considerate practice will now have to ensure that PPE is available on site in suitable sizes. Contractors who opt to sign up to the voluntary code are assessed at least twice a year to see how well they confirm to the code’s checklist. The organisation added women’s PPE to the checklist after it was sent the results of a survey carried out by the Yorkshire region of the National Association of Women In Construction, an advocacy group with roots in the US that has branched out internationally; it found that 60 per cent of employers did not provide specific women’s PPE.
Is it enough?
Short answer no, the absence of well-fitted PPE for women has tangible consequences for their safety, well-being and overall experience in the construction sector.
PPE which does not fit can lead to discomfort, reduced mobility and increased risk of accidents. It is not enough, that complying with this basic requirement is part of a voluntary code but it is a huge step in the right direction and emphasizes the need for continuous improvement, awareness campaigns, and proactive measures to ensure that women have access to PPE that fits and is safe.
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