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Survey: Women in Construction Face PPE Sizing Issues

A group of diverse female construction contract workers.

A problem that puts female workers at risk for injury

Construction workers are often exposed to hazards such as falling objects, machinery, electrical equipment, and hazardous materials. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential to protect workers from injuries in a construction accident. Proper PPE can help ensure worker safety and compliance with occupational safety regulations.

Survey shows a lack of appropriate safety gear for women

But according to a recent survey of women in the construction industry, there’s a problem. There is a lack of personal protective equipment that fits women on job sites.

Researchers at Lumber, a construction workforce management organization, surveyed 100 female construction owners, executives, and decision-makers to get insights into challenges encountered on construction sites. When asked about PPE:

  • 67% said that gender-friendly safety equipment is not available at construction sites
  • 85% said that there’s no maternity-friendly safety equipment at construction sites.

What types of PPE are used on construction sites?

Workers use several types of personal protective equipment, including:

  • Helmets to protect against head injuries.
  • Safety glasses or goggles to shield the eyes from debris.
  • Hearing protection such as earplugs or earmuffs to protect against noise.
  • High-visibility clothing to ensure workers are easily seen.
  • Gloves to protect hands from cuts, abrasions, and exposure to harmful materials.
  • Safety shoes or boots, typically with steel toes to protect feet from heavy objects.
  • Respiratory protection, such as masks or respirators, to guard against inhalation of hazardous substances.

Each type of PPE is designed to address specific hazards that workers may encounter on a construction site.

Are employers required to provide PPE that fits?

Yes, employers are required to provide PPE that fits properly. It is essential for safety that PPE is not only available but also correctly fits each employee to protect them from hazards in the workplace effectively. Properly fitting PPE is more effective at preventing injuries and ensures compliance with safety regulations and standards.

In July, OSHA issued a proposed rule to revise its standard on PPE in construction (1926.95) “to ensure that all PPE that is selected properly fits each affected employee.”

What can happen when PPE does not fit properly?

It can lead to several risks and safety issues. Improperly fitting PPE may not provide the intended level of protection, potentially exposing workers to hazards and increasing the risk of injury. For example, loose clothing can catch in machinery. Oversized gloves can impair dexterity, and poorly fitting eyewear can obstruct vision or fail to protect against debris.

Who can be held liable if a worker is injured in an on-site accident?

Workers generally can’t sue their employer for injuries suffered in a workplace accident. However, in construction accidents, several types of third parties could potentially be liable, including:

  • Equipment manufacturers: The manufacturer could be held responsible if an injury was caused by defective or unsafe equipment.
  • Subcontractors: They might be liable if a subcontractor’s negligence contributed to the accident.
  • Property owners: If the property on which construction occurs is unsafe and contributes to the accident, the owner could be held liable.
  • Architects and engineers: If poor design or oversight by these professionals leads to an unsafe construction environment, they may also face liability.

Injured on the job site? Contact an experienced construction accident lawyer

If you’ve been hurt on a job site in New York City, it’s important to talk to an experienced construction accident attorney as soon as possible. At Keogh Crispi, P.C., we can review the details of your accident, discuss your potential legal options, and answer any questions you have. We put in the hard work needed to build strong cases that get results.

To learn more, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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