Page 67 - OHS, June 2022
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put themselves at increased risk. If so, your safety program may need to be reassessed. Involve them in coming up with solutions. This will not only improve the situation but will also aid in obtaining employee buy-in for improving your organization’s safety culture.
Review your injury records and near miss reports. Look for any trends involving PPE usage (or lack thereof). A strong near- miss program can help to identify potential issues before they become more serious and life threatening.
Widen your network. Look for suppliers offering PPE specifically sized for females. While the PPE space is still largely geared towards men, the landscape is slowly shifting to include women as a specific market base. Involve your employees in the purchasing process, as they may have already done the research on alternative PPE solutions to better address their specific situations.
Manufacturing and construction industries expose the worker to a multitude of hazards, including falling objects, flying debris, excessive noise, chemicals, punctures and working from heights. The hazards associated with women-held roles are no different than that of their male-counterparts. It is common in the safety world to rationalize PPE as being the last line of defense for mitigating hazard exposure. When PPE is required, we must not settle for ill-fitting equipment that increases the potential for injury.
As safety professionals, we are continually looking for ways to make a positive impact in the industry. It’s imperative we ride the wave of investment and change, while also trying to capitalize on it. With economic improvements on the horizon, PPE being on the hearts and minds of all decision makers, and more women joining the labor force, now is the perfect time to add additional emphasis on proper fit (or current lack thereof) as it pertains to women physique’s while wearing PPE.
Robin Marth, CSP joined J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. in 2021 as an Editor on the Environmental, Health & Safety Publishing Team. She is an experienced EHS Specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the management consulting and manufacturing industry. Robin’s professional skill set includes Workplace Safety Administration, Ergonomics, Environmental Management, and Motor Vehicle/Fleet Safety. Her editorial responsibilities include researching and creating content for several publications, including Employee Safety Management Today and the OSHA Compliance for California manual. Robin holds a CSP designation from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals and is also an OSHA Outreach General Industry Trainer.
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