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Do women have access to good personal protective equipment?

New York City's construction field is strong, and it has begun to pull in more female contractors. As a female in a primarily male field, you already have some interesting challenges. A more important challenge to address is the need for specialized safety equipment.

As a female who may be asked to perform the same tasks as men, people may believe that you can use the same safety equipment. That's not necessarily the truth. You may need to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) that fits you correctly, or you could face the dire consequences of using ill-fitted gear.

What happens when personal protective equipment doesn't fit correctly?

When PPE doesn't fit correctly, it's not doing its job. For example, if you choose a pair of gloves that is designed to work with high temperatures, but they don't fit your hands well, the heat from the tools you're using could still bypass the gloves and reach your skin. Similarly, the gloves could fall off or get in the way of using the equipment correctly, which causes accidents.

The right PPE equipment is about more than size

In the past, some manufacturers have turned to making equipment smaller, but that's not the only issue. Harnesses, for example, need to take into account the different shapes of women's bodies, including their busts. Helmets need to account for a woman's possible ponytail or long hair. Even glasses have to fit over a slightly differently shaped face structure.

If you're working in construction, the right gear does matter. Our site has more on what to do if you're hurt while working in construction.

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