Journalist, SHP Online

July 27, 2017

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PPE

Shaping the future of women’s construction clothing

 

Leading construction and engineering company, BAM Nuttall, is rolling out a range of work clothing nationwide, specifically designed for women, following trials on a number of its sites in London, Leeds, Newcastle and Scotland.

Recognising the need for women’s workwear

With construction having traditionally been perceived as predominantly a male profession, workwear and safety equipment has generally been produced with the male form in mind. As construction attracts more women, however, a very real need has been identified for female PPE.

Bam Nuttall, the leading construction and engineering company, is rolling out a range of work clothing nationwide, specifically designed for women. Working with Arco, the UK’s premier supplier of safety equipment, it has been trialled across a number of sites in London, Leeds, Newcastle and Scotland.


Site PPE for women is not about vanity, but concentrates on comfort and safety.

Phil Cullen, health and safety director at BAM Nuttall, and who oversaw the trial, said: “We are known for successfully delivering high-profile, complex projects and for encouraging women to join the world of construction.

“As we look to increase diversity, not only in our company but across the whole sector, it makes sense to make sure that all employees on site have the best equipment possible, and that includes clothing.”


PPE resources:

PPE: Complete guide to Personal Protective Equipment

Hazmat suits – your complete buyer’s guide

Ear plugs at work – a buyer’s guide

Safety Boots and Footwear: The Complete Buyer’s Guide


Men’s PPE has generally been worn by women on site and tends to be uncomfortable, too big, impractical and in the worst case can be a potential safety hazard. Tailored trousers for example are easier to walk in than the oversized men’s version, reducing the possibility of them catching on objects. In addition, when the trousers are designed specifically for female construction workers they don’t need to be pulled up high or the legs turned to make them fit.

Simply making the on-the-spot changes to male-designed PPE means pockets are in the wrong place, making it difficult to access tools for example, while the reflective safety strips on the clothing can be hidden.

As we look to increase diversity, not only in our company but across the whole sector, it makes sense to make sure that all employees on site have the best equipment possible, and that includes clothing.

Types of workwear

Bam Nuttall worked with Arco initially to commission polo shirts, jackets, waistcoats and trousers all tailored for the female form and is looking at the possibility of expanding it to safety helmets, gloves, goggles and boots in the future.

The construction and engineering company also took advantage of the clothing trial to feature an alternative version of its “Don’t Walk By” logo that is designed to encourage people to address anything that they think is wrong, damaged or dangerous on site, with the new one featuring a silhouette of a female construction worker on it.

Cullen said: “As well as being an important enhancement to health a safety of site, the trial and logo shows how seriously we take our commitment to diversity and how we value our female workforce.

“We need to attract more women to the industry and providing the best and most suitable clothing is a small but significant step and we would encourage.”


Caroline O’Connor, environmental advisor at BAM Nuttall, said: “BAM Nuttall has lead the way in providing a range of PPE for its female employees so we can safely and comfortably carry out our duties on site.”

“The BAM branded women’s PPE not only looks better than the baggy male alternative but wearing clothes that are fit for purpose is also a lot for safer for us. In addition to the PPE, I have also been wearing women’s safety boots that are lighter and narrower so the days of wearing multiple pairs of socks, to make the wider male boots fit, are a thing of the past for the women in BAM.”

Elsewhere, BAM Nuttall has been collaborating with Australian firm SmartCap Technologies Pty to explore potential innovative solutions to tiredness levels in construction workers.

Life by SmartCap is a new second generation product consisting of a ‘LifeBand’ which can be worn on its own or inside a worker’s safety helmet to provide operator fatigue alerts, via bluetooth to the life app, as the risk pf microsleep is identified.

Free download: Legislation Update eBook

The last six months have seen some major publications in health and safety, not least the long awaited ISO 45001 with a promise of transforming workplace practices globally. Discover more about this ‘game changing’ standard and what else has been happening in the safety industry from a legislation standing point to ensure you are not a laggard on the topic.

To ensure you are up to date click here.

Legislation

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