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PPE Must Fit Properly

Updated: Aug 2, 2023

I have seen this topic come up several times recently, including a lengthy discussion at a conference where the discussion was specifically centered on #womeninconstruction and making sure that companies make properly sized #PPE available.

There is a great article on this topic here...

This is a real issue in the construction industry and the article is correct - if the PPE does not fit, they will not wear it in the field, or worse yet, they wear it and it becomes a greater hazard. I had a consulting client one time that wanted to know if they should terminate an employee because she just would not wear her safety glasses. I asked if they had any other issues or problems with her, and they said no, none at all. Seems like sort of an obvious follow-up question, but my next question was if anyone had really ever asked her why.

When I went out to the field to find her, she immediately knew why I was there..."this is about the safety glasses, isn't it?"

A few minutes of discussion and show and tell made it all very clear. The safety glasses provided by the company were way too big. Every time she looked down (like into the trench being dug), they would fall off. Her question..."how many pairs do you want me to loose/break because they don't fit?"

I have two comments here...

  1. You, as the employer, have to provide the PPE for all your employees - it really doesn't cost any more to provide the correct size, and in the long run it costs much less.

  2. This is not just a women in construction issue - people come in all shapes and sizes - don't spend money on things that don't fit. One size fits all might be fine for household items you use only on occasion, but it typically is a bad idea for life safety equipment that someone has to use every day.

Take the time to do this right! Get your PPE vendor to help. They want you to buy from them, have them help you get the correct sizes.

I would love to see some comments on this one!

Here are additional resources and links about providing protection for a diverse workforce:

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