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TOPIC: Keeping-workers-safe

5 Things You Need to Know About PPE for Women

 

According to the 2017 edition of the National Safety Council chartbook “Injury Facts” in 2014, 367 women died on the job. That same year, women experienced nearly 350,000 injuries involving days away from work. In many cases, having the right PPE could have made all the difference.

When it comes to providing your women employees with personal protective equipment (PPE), the one-size-fits-all mentality doesn’t work anymore.

As the number of women entering traditionally male-dominated fields like construction, manufacturing and oil and gas grows, so to do the needs for employers to provide their female employees with personal protective equipment that fits their frames.

1. The Workforce Needs Women

As the labor market in these industries shrinks and the population continues to age, more employers will need to expand their workforce to include more women in order to stay competitive. More than that, women are driving growth and taking leadership roles in many sectors. According to a Wall Street Journal report, 40% of the women in construction run their own businesses, and construction accounts for the largest growth in new women-owned business.

When women are on the job site and running the front office, creating a safety culture that keeps the specific needs of women in mind doesn’t just help your employees, it improves your bottom line.

2. One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Having women wear larger sized PPE isn’t safe and the solution isn’t as simple as having them wear a smaller size. For example:

  • According to a 2006 publication from the Industrial Accident Prevention Association and the Ontario Women’s Directorate, a typical woman’s foot is both shorter and narrower than a typical man’s foot, so a smaller boot may be the right length but not the right width.
  • A woman’s face is generally smaller than a man’s. If a woman is using protective eyewear that is sized for a man, the gaps they leave at her temples may allow flying debris from a machine to enter her eyes.
  • When it comes to hand protection, a woman's hands are smaller — she has shorter, narrower fingers, and a smaller palm circumference — so even a man's small glove often does not fit. Instead, having gloves sized to a woman’s hand improves dexterity and reduces risk.
  • When it comes to slip and fall protection, an improperly sized safety harness can hinder a woman’s movements and affect the ability to work safely. It also can increase the worker’s risk of “suspension trauma” after a fall. This a potentially fatal condition in which blood pools in the legs and reduces the amount of blood in circulation. 
  • A woman wearing a hard hat designed for a man may risk having her vision obscured by a hard hat that falls in her eyes. Many manufacturers recommend that women wear hard hats with a chin strap in order to improve fit.

Another issue related to ill-fitting PPE is that women who can’t find comfortable PPE are less likely to wear any PPE. This puts them at increased risk of injury.

 3.  Alteration Isn’t the Answer

Often, women who are unable to get access to PPE that is sized for their bodies will try to compensate by altering available equipment. Big mistake. Safety equipment is specifically designed to protect the wearer as-is. Altering negates the protective property of the PPE at best and can even put a female employee at greater risk.

4.  It’s Not Just a “Female Thing”

While both men and women bring up issues related to PPE with their supervisors, women are often subject to derisive comments when issued ill-fitting PPE. According to a survey carried out in May 2016 by Women in Science and Engineering (WES), just over one-quarter of respondents (28%) reported that they had been subjected to unwelcome (mostly derogatory) comments as a result of ill-fitting PPE.

Comments reported in the survey included:

  • ‘You look like a kid playing dress up’
  • ‘Can you breathe in that?
  • ‘Are you wearing your dad’s clothes?’
  • ‘Here comes the elephant’
  • ‘Your boobs look big in that’

Creating a safety culture that welcomes women employees requires more than providing the right equipment. It requires setting the right tone for employees and supervisors on the job site, making sure that everyone understands that concerns about PPE for women are not only valid but addressing them can help you to avoid safety issues in the future.

5. Options Are Available

The good news is that one-size-fits-all doesn’t have to be a company’s default position. More and more providers are offering PPE that is designed and sized specifically for women. This includes everything from safety gloves and work boots to safety harnesses and fall protection equipment.  Talking to your PPE supplier is a great place to start. They often are familiar with different brand options, and if the equipment you need isn’t available, it’s easier than ever to create customized equipment that fits the needs of all of your employees.

For example, Arbill’s Truline product line includes the Assault Slim Pink Frame safety glasses. These stylish safety glasses are designed with a woman’s face in mind while also offering clear XCoat and anti-fog lenses.

 

When it comes to hand protection, Arbill also offers its GenWear 110 TrimFit Gloves. The “skinny jean” of gloves, these gloves are designed for workers (male or female) with smaller structured hands. This streamlined design allows for a better fit, while featuring a mesh back to reduce heat buildup and a reinforced grip.

 

 

Looking for more ideas on how to provide your women employees with the right PPE? Talk to one of our safety advisors today. You can learn about our custom PPE options and schedule a site assessment.

Arbill is a safety solutions company. We are all about protecting your workers in the workplace. Our mission is to keep workers safe and return them home safely at the end of the day. Visit arbill.com for more information about being safe and subscribe to Safer Every Day, the definitive digital magazine for workplace safety.

 

Have a safe day!

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The First Annual Lisa Miller Safety Leadership Award

 

“There is a tendency to doubt your growth in the midst of a big leap forward; hold steady and allow yourself to bloom.”

 

 

Yung Pueblo

 

On April 10th Arbill came together to honor the life and legacy of Lisa Miller. Lisa came to Arbill in 2014 to help develop the EH&S training program and in the process, helped chart a future course for the company.

An experienced sales professional, Lisa was remembered for her embodiment of the “can-do” spirit that we value at Arbill and the incredible energy and passion that she brought to every part of her life.

Lisa passed away last year after a heroic fight against cancer. Even in her last days, she was still working, helping to build the program that she started and recruiting and training new staff members who could carry on the work that she had begun.

The lunchtime program consisted of remarks made by Arbill CEO Julie Copeland and President Robyn Zlotkin and Lisa’s family members in attendance, a 10-minute video about Lisa and the award, and the presentation of the first award to Lisa’s husband George, accepted by her sister Tina.

 

In her remarks, Copeland said, “She had the biggest heart combined with a brilliant mind. She could finish our sentences and had all the resources to bring forward and turn an opportunity into a project that would make her client’s workplace safer. Her creativity amazed me endlessly. We wanted to honor her entrepreneurial spirit with this leadership award. Going forward. this award is for the Arbill team member who exemplifies the value of “can do.” She was the essence of can-do, taking the scaffolding and building the frame with minimal support and she thrived. Lisa bloomed, and she gave Arbill the seeds to grow.”

 

The Lisa Miller Safety Leadership Award is given annually to the Arbill employee who best exemplifies Lisa’s “Can Do” spirit and her passion to make workplaces safer.

 

Want to learn more about our SafetyCare program and what it can do for your business? Talk to one of our safety advisors today and schedule a site assessment or training program.

Arbill is a safety solutions company. We are all about protecting your workers in the workplace. Our mission is to keep workers safe and return them home safely at the end of the day. Visit arbill.com for more information about being safe and subscribe to Safer Every Day, the definitive digital magazine for workplace safety.

 

Have a safe day!

 

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5 Ways a Commitment-Based Approach to Safety Improves Your Workplace

 

When we grew up, we were probably taught to remember to buckle our seatbelts. First by parents, later by teachers and ultimately when we learn to drive. While tougher seat belt laws have contributed to the rising use of seat belts, education and making seat belt use part of our everyday lives has contributed towards the trend and the decrease in accidents.

How much? According to the CDC, since 1975 seat belts have saved an estimated 255,000 lives.

Workplace safety culture is the same. Your company ultimately has two options, use a control-based safety environment or a commitment-based safety environment.

A control-based safety environment is based on the idea of doing the minimum needed to avoid being fined or punished. In this environment, safety is seen as a distraction from (or a hindrance to) productivity. Even when a company has safety councils in place, meetings often fail to generate positive action and safety concerns often don’t get the attention of upper management. The control-based safety environment fits into more traditional workplace models with specialized roles and rigid hierarchy.

A commitment-based safety environment means that safety is seen as everyone’s concern from the CEO down. Commitment-based safety is geared toward making safety its own reward and rewarding employees for being proactive in protecting their safety and the safety of others. Safety is seen as a necessary part of overall productivity and not as a hindrance or distraction.

While a commitment-based safety environment is collaborative and requires input from all levels of a company it has several advantages over a control-based model. Here are five examples of how a commitment-based safety environment can improve:

1. Productivity

In a control-based safety environment, lowest-common-denominator thinking rules and employees often find themselves pulled into a race-to-the-bottom mentality. Employees who wish to do more are discouraged by their co-workers and supervisors out of fear of reprisals or unwanted attention from upper management. This environment stifles productivity and employee growth. While there may be some short-term benefits to this mode of thinking, in the long-run it can only do more harm than good.

Creating a commitment-based safety culture requires that everyone from the CEO on down, plays a positive role in creating and maintaining a safe work environment. When that kind of culture exists, employee morale improves and with it, productivity increases, and absenteeism drops.

2. Personal Responsibility

In a control-based safety environment, employees often ignore safety warnings, forget to use PPE and don’t say anything if they notice a fellow employee isn’t using PPE. This leads to more accidents which can hurt morale and the company’s bottom line. In addition, supervisors need to spend more of their time “monitoring” employees to make sure they’re following safety best practices, needing to “nag” employees about these issues makes it harder for supervisors to effectively develop their teams in the long term.

When a workplace has a commitment-based safety culture, employees are more likely to take their safety and the safety of their co-workers more seriously. This means that they are more likely to use their PPE and follow safety rules without needing additional training and reminders. This also reduces the need for additional oversight from management, allowing managers to focus on growth and business optimization.

3. Communication

In a control-based environment, employees are hesitant to speak up when they see problems for fear of being labeled as a complainer. If they do speak up and don’t see a response to their concerns, they’re less likely to speak up again in the future.

With a commitment-based safety culture in place, employees are more likely to report potential safety issues because they believe that their concerns are being heard and taken seriously. This allows you to head off minor safety issues before they become serious concerns.

4. Bottom Line

For many businesses the only thing that costs more than creating a commitment-based safety culture is not creating a commitment-based safety culture. As the workplace becomes more specialized, it is harder than ever to replace skilled workers. A workplace injury or accident cost easily cost tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills, OSHA fines and legal expenses. A fatality can easily cost in the millions. And that’s only the direct costs. In addition, businesses often find themselves facing indirect costs including recruiting and training new employees and increased insurance costs.

Having a commitment-based safety culture may require an investment at the beginning, but it can provide a positive return on investment in the long term. In fact, OSHA has determined that every dollar invested in safety provides a return of $4 to $6 in the long-term.

5. Reputation

When employees feel that management takes their safety seriously and empowers them to make it a priority, employees are more likely to speak positively about your company. When the opposite is true, employees are more likely to air their grievances online. Don’t think this will affect your business? An Indeed survey shows that 83 percent of job seekers are likely to base their decision on where to apply based on company reviews and 46 percent will weigh a company’s reputation before accepting a job offer.

Ready to build or enhance the safety culture at your business? Talk to one of our safety advisors today and schedule an assessment.

 Arbill is a safety solutions company. We are all about protecting your workers in the workplace. Our mission is to keep workers safe and return them home safely at the end of the day. Visit arbill.com for more information about being safe and subscribe to Safer Every Day, the definitive digital magazine for workplace safety.

 Have a safe day!

 

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Stay Safe This Winter!

Each week, I share information about keeping workers safe in the workplace. For many of our blog subscribers, dealing with winter driving hazards and winter weather may be the most risk-associated part of the day.

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Be Safe this Thanksgiving

As families come together this Thanksgiving, I’d like to take a moment to share some reasons to be thankful and celebrate this American holiday. Before I do, however, I want to remind our readers to stay safe when celebrating this week.

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Arbill Celebrates ‘Living for Safety’

Each June, the National Safety Council celebrates National Safety Month and focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and in our homes and communities. ​ And each June, Arbill employees embrace National Safety Month with a special focus on safety.

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