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Study shows issues around women’s PPE in engineering sector

A survey of women working in construction, mining and quarrying reveals that 80% of respondents have been given ill-fitting PPE at work. 

CREDIT: Gary Hider/Alamy

The study canvassed 130 women from the Bold as Brass LinkedIn group, a network for women working across the above sectors. It found that 32% have felt unsafe due to ill-fitting PPE and 28% have even been on sites where there is no PPE provision at all. 

The findings, published in Ground Engineering, were revealed on International Women in Engineering Day (23 June) which has the theme “make safety seen”.  

Speaking to Ground Engineering, Tarmac Geotechnical Manager, Katherine Evans, founder of the Bold as Brass group, said inadequate PPE could put off women considering a career in engineering. “PPE might just be the last bit of safety, but it’s the thing that’s going to stop so many people from actually entering the industry if it doesn’t fit.” 

A recent article for SHPonline – published on IWIED by Beth Holroyd, championed women in the engineering sector while acknowledging more needs to be done to encourage new talent. Responding to this survey, Holroyd expressed shock. I can’t believe in 2023 this is still a problem,” she told SHPonline. “PPE isn’t a nice to have, it’s an essential piece of kit to keep a workforce safe. Women make up a percentage of the workforce – provide them the PPE they need so they can do what you’ve employed them to do – it’s as simple as that.”

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