YES! PPE, one-size-fits-all won’t work if you’re providing gear for women.
- Safety goggles are often too large for a woman’s face, and the loose fit can allow debris, fluids or other hazardous material to enter a worker’s eyes causing injury.
- Modifying a man’s protective clothing to fit a woman such as rolling up the sleeves or pant legs can be dangerous because the excess material can become caught in machinery or cause slips and falls
- Safety gloves are usually designed for men’s hands so women will try to make them fit with duct tape or stuffing cotton balls in the tips to keep them from falling off. This poor fit increases exponentially the potential for hand injuries.
- Female workers who are given protective footwear sized for men may experience more trips or slips while walking or climbing ladders.
- One-size-fits-all fall arrest harnesses should not be worn by women. Size and shape differences can affect the angles that straps fit into the harnesses. Loose fitting harnesses can hinder a worker’s movements and ability to work safely, OSHA says the reason why women encounter difficulty with PPE is the lack of a full range of PPE sizes and types at the retail, wholesale and distributor levels as well as employers’ limited knowledge of PPE designed for women.
Female workers who are concerned about ill-fitting PPE can approach their safety director armed with information that will offer solutions. More manufacturers are finally designing safety equipment to fit women. Studying the differences in body measurements between men and women has allowed manufacturers to offer work gloves to fit smaller hands and design safety goggles with tighter fits to eliminate gaping.