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How to Outfit Your ENTIRE Workforce with Gloves & Sleeves

by Julie on October 18, 2016

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When it comes to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for women, we aren’t talking about “what’s hot and what’s not” in Fall 2016. We’re talking about safety and making sure that everyone leaves the job site the way they arrived.

The National Association of Women in Construction says that as of 2014, women made up 8.9 percent of the industry’s workers. That’s based on the 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics Household Data Annual Averages report. That number skyrocketed  from the previous year when BLS reported women made up 1.2 percent of the industry.

This beginner’s guide to PPE for women is aimed at making sure that female employees don’t have to “make do” with whatever is available. Work gloves that are too big or hardhats that are too deep can lead to a greater risk of accident or injury.

Personal protective equipment


Step #1: Lose the Frills

They don’t need to be pink safety gloves to be made for women. Safety apparel has been marketed to women for too long with this gimmick. While I’m all for colors that make you stand out from your background, we need to be focusing on an items safety rating. If it’s a hard hat, does it meet the proper classification? If it’s safety gloves, do they protect you against the hazards you face on a regular basis?

And just as the important, no matter the piece of PPE. Does it fit right? Which brings us to step two…


Step #2: Focus on Fit

It’s not uncommon for leather work gloves to be “one size fits all,” but men and women have vastly different bone structures.

If the glove is designed for the length and width of a man’s hand, you’ll end up with a situation like this from Industrial Accident Prevention Association:

“I stuffed cotton in the fingers, put tape at the wrist, and tacked the top with staples to stop sparks from getting down the sleeve” was the account from one female worker.

When shopping for women’s heavy duty work gloves, look for gloves designed specially for the female hand. Like these:

PPE for women
PPE for women


Step #3: If the Glove Don’t Fit, Try a String-Knit

Leather used to be the go-to option for gloves because the material was available and it offers great abrasion resistance. But as technology advanced, string-knit gloves have become more popular.

Extra small women’s work gloves are now pretty standard and some even come in double-extra small.

safety gloves for women
PPE for women


Step #4: Size Does Matter

So now there is a good deal of glove sizes to choose from. But which one will fit your hand right? Use our Sizing Guide to make sure you’re being outfitted with the right sized gloves and sleeves. You can also download a PDF by clicking the button below.

PPE for women


Step #5: Look Ahead

More women aren’t just moving into construction and related trades; they’re moving into Health and Safety positions. Bringing with them a greater awareness of the need for women’s safety gloves.

Safety+Health magazine recently interviewed five women who work in safety. Their stories illustrate the struggle to be heard in an industry that’s traditionally male.

Either women can take the risk of tripping in clunky boots, dropping a tool with bulky gloves or suffering an eye injury in goggles that don’t offer the correct protection. Or the company can invest in the proper safety for all workers.

At the end of the day — even if there is only one female employee on the work site — it’s about safety. When one worker on the team isn’t safe, everyone is in danger.

(Interested in trying a FREE pair of gloves for female employees? Click the link under any of the gloves on this page!)

safety gloves for women
PPE for women

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