Huge step towards inclusive PPE

The Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) has mandated the provision of women’s PPE across all its sites.

This is a huge step towards inclusive PPE. In fact, it means companies that opt-in to the CCS code of considerate practice must ensure women’s PPE is available in suitable sizes at their construction sites across the country.

Improving inclusivity and diversity in the construction industry

CCS head of assurance and challenge Philip Sayer said: “The Considerate Constructors Scheme is committed to improving inclusivity and diversity in the construction industry, and helping to address its skills gap.

“Improving access for women in the industry is integral to this, and we are delighted to play our part by promoting the provision of female-specific PPE on sites that sign up to our Code of Considerate Practice.”

The CCS added women’s PPE to its contractor checklist after it received a survey carried out by the Yorkshire branch of advocacy group National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC). The survey found 60% of employers did not provide specific women’s PPE.

In fact, 42% of the 157 respondents said ill-fitting PPE had affected their career.

Inclusive PPE should be “minimum standard”

Katy Robinson, Senior Project Manager at East Riding of Yorkshire Council and NAWIC Yorkshire Campaign Manage, has welcomed the news. She hopes it will pave the way for more dedication to inclusive PPE across the country.

Katy said: “What a fantastic start to the year with the Considerate Constructors Scheme mandating the provision for women’s PPE on all of their 4,600+ annual registered sites.” she said.

“I’m certain that this move will encourage other industry health and safety accreditations to do the same. I’m looking forward to continuing working with a number of accreditations to join the movement. Well-fitting PPE shouldn’t be seen as best practice, it should be the minimum standard. We won’t give up until that is the case.”

The HSE acknowledged the issue of ill-fitting PPE. As a result, it is engaging with Karl Simons Chair of SHP’s Editorial Board. 

SHP’s Inclusive PPE campaign is looking to bring awareness around the issues of ill-fitting PPE.

“A louder voice and more demand”

In a recent podcast for International Women’s Day, HSE’s Chief Executive, Sarah Albon highlighted progress. However, she acknowledged there is more to do.

“As more and more women join these industries, they’ll become a louder voice and more demand.

With just little bit of thought – and you see our best companies do this – more places can make those extra few steps, not to make a woman feel that she has to ask, or somebody is doing her a favour.”

On having the right PPE and facilities for women onsite, she said: “It makes a huge difference…the availability of appropriate facilities is really patchy.”

“It’s about the facilities, it’s about having somewhere appropriate to change… It’s also about the fit of PPE itself, there can be such a struggle, for women to get – particularly boots – but other equipment that actually fits them properly.”