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Dani is an experienced radio, newspaper and freelance journalist who also works in public relations and teaches journalism to people across the country.
February 7, 2024

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Huge step towards inclusive PPE as industry body promises to ensure provision

The construction industry has seen a huge boost to efforts to get properly fitted inclusive PPE for women.

Accreditation group the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) has pledged to mandate the provision of women’s PPE across all its sites. The move means companies that opt-in to the CCS code of considerate practice will now have to ensure that women’s PPE is available in suitable sizes at their construction sites across the country.

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 was sent 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 and 42% of the 157 respondents said ill-fitting PPE had affected their career.

“Well-fitting PPE shouldn’t be seen as best practice, it should be the minimum standard”

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

Katy has previously detailed times when she has struggled to find properly fitted PPE in an exclusive article for SHP Online. She has had to wear what were classed as ‘clown boots’ that were wide, uncomfortable and caused blisters for her, as well as trousers which were the correct length but not the right size, being too baggy and unsafe at the calf but tight and unable to button or zip up at the waist.

And her story is not uncommon. According to the Office for National Statistics women currently (Oct 2023) make up 15.8% of the construction industry. The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has also been campaigning for the industry to improve the provision of safety equipment for women.

CIOB President, Sandi Rhys Jones launched the #PPEthatfits campaign last year calling for better provision of inclusive PPE. She said: “When the decision was taken in the summer of 2023 to hold a workshop to exchange experience and knowledge around provision of properly fitting PPE, none of us in the CIOB Working Group expected the topic to take off in the way it did.

“It has been truly eye-opening to identify the scale of the need, and to see an ever-expanding network of committed individuals and companies, here and around the world. The commitment from Considerate Constructors to support mandatory provision is a wonderful example of how collaborative working, supported by facts, can result in practical outcomes that will benefit the sector as a whole.”

While the CCS is a voluntary code, companies that sign up are assessed at least twice a year to see how they conform to the code’s checklist. Other measures rated on its contractor checklist include community engagement, environmental actions and treating the workforce with respect. These checks result in a score which must be high enough to show they are conforming with the code.

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Karl Simons
Karl Simons
5 months ago

Fantastic news and with so many lived experience speakers coming forward and sharing their stories combined with campaigners raising awareness, the momentum gained is having a profound impact!