Women in Construction and the Problem of PPE

A graphic of a woman working at a construction site.

Women in construction have a difficult relationship with personal protective equipment (PPE). On the one hand, PPE is critical for protecting them against chemical, physical, mechanical and other workplace hazards. On the other hand, PPE that doesn’t properly fit women’s bodies can be so uncomfortable or ineffective as to increase the risk of injury or death.

This article will examine the difficulties women have with PPE in construction, as well as ways in which to make positive changes for women in the industry.

PPE and the Hierarchy of Controls

In the hierarchy of controls for eliminating or reducing workplace hazards, PPE is the least effective control. It is the last line of defense in environments in which elimination or other controls aren’t feasible or don’t provide sufficient protection. Table 1 shows the standard hierarchy of controls.

A table of the hierarchy of controls

PPE is a critical component of construction safety. Construction sites are dynamic environments with … Read more...