The role of gender in the safety of construction work has not been investigated in depth. After all, just 9% of construction workers in the country are women. However, female construction workers face some specific workplace safety issues.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently launched a website page dedicated to the safety of female construction workers.
According to OSHA, the construction industry lost more than 2.5 million jobs in 2007-2010, and as a result, the size of the female workforce in the industry shrank substantially. Even so, approximately 800,000 construction workers are women. About 25% of them are electricians and laborers.
Women face particular safety issues when it comes to the proper positioning and fitting of personal protection equipment. OSHA cited cases in which female construction workers were issued personal protection equipment that didn’t fit properly
The agency recommends that employers have personal protection equipment tested by female employees to ensure a proper fit. Personal protection gear like personal fall arrest systems needs to fit properly and be comfortable for extensive use. A female worker who receives ill-fitting gear is less likely to use it. This raises her risk of serious injuries in a fall accident.
Female workers also need access to appropriate hygiene facilities in the workplace. Employers must make arrangements for workers to be safe and protected at all times.
Michael Parsons is an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer representing injured workers in the metro Atlanta region and helping them recover the workers’ compensation benefits that they have earned.