The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) has warned that a “one size fits all” approach to PPE (personal protective equipment) puts workers at risk.
The ISEA claims that some employers order only a couple of sizes of PPE without considering the physical differences between employees. Protective workwear that is too loose can get trapped in machinery, and clothing is uncomfortable when too tight, causing many workers to resist wearing them for long periods of time.
In the construction industry, about 9% of the workforce is female. Clothing sizes are different for women than men, but not all construction sites have workwear available in women's sizes.
Abby Ferri, a safety professional, says: "PPE fit should be communicated in a way that a worker can understand their size, and the employer must make the effort to purchase the sizes needed, no matter the quantity. Workers of any gender should not be in a position to modify their gear or compromise safety by wearing ill-fitting PPE."
The President of ISEA, Charles D. Johnson says that it is time to act to address health and safety regulations that do not cover the correct fitting of protective clothing. Manufacturers make clothing in a variety of sizes, but it is up to every employee to make sure that they order PPE that fits every employee small to large. Johnson said that ordering correct fit PPE is: “A vital step in saving lives, preventing injuries and creating a culture of worker safety."