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March 20, 2024

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‘I felt overjoyed. They were like slippers’: Finally finding safety boots that fit

Despite a 30-year safety career Emma Woodhouse only recently discovered boots that complement her size one feet.

Having worked in health and safety since 2004, I understand the vital role that PPE plays in keeping us safe. However, as someone who is 5 feet tall, I have encountered challenges with ill-fitting equipment and clothing that can impact both safety and productivity.


When I started my career in health and safety on construction sites I was provided with PPE and training. However, when I completed a working at height course I had to order a harness as the one off the shelf did not fit – it was way too large. I remember my manager shouting across the office asking for my chest size! The whole experience was embarrassing.


One of the primary issues I’ve faced around PPE is with footwear. While a size three may seem small, being a size one, I often feel like I’m wearing clown shoes, which not only affects my comfort but also poses a potential trip hazard. However in 2019, I came across a company called V12 Footwear that had designed Ladies’ safety shoes. I called the company and found out they had boots that were perfectly formed, perfect for work and in a small size. I was delighted and ordered a pair immediately,  When they arrived, I felt overjoyed. They were like slippers, so comfortable. I have three pairs of footwear from them and recommend them to anyone who has small feet.

Gloves and hi-viz

Additionally, wearing gloves designed for larger hands has been a struggle. To keep them in place, I’ve resorted to using hair bands on my wrists, which can be inconvenient and restrict my ability to perform tasks effectively. I try and wear my own gloves on site, which are actually a children’s size but it depends on the site manager if I can wear them or told to wear regulated gloves that don’t fit. Furthermore, the fit of my hi-vis jacket has been a persistent challenge. Despite my efforts, I have yet to find a jacket that provides both adequate protection and a comfortable fit. This not only impacts my comfort but also potentially compromises my visibility on site.


So despite all these challenges, I am committed to finding a solution and welcome any suggestions or support in this endeavor. Together, and alongside campaigns such as SHP’s, we can ensure that everyone on site has access to PPE that not only meets safety standards but also prioritises comfort and functionality.

Emma Woodhouse is a Health and Safety Consultant at Walker Safety.

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