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One size does not fit all: Lack of proper PPE for women is dangerous

When her too-large safety vest caught on a door handle, Amy Roosa was jerked backward into the door. The contact resulted in a bruise.

For women in construction, that’s an all-too-common occurrence. Founder of The Safety Rack, a social media network that reviews PPE for women in the trades, Roosa said it’s typical for women in construction to have to don ill-fitting gear. The result can introduce new hazards, as protection equipment like a bright safety vest morphs into an injury risk.

“If, for example, my gloves are too big on me, I am more likely to remove them to complete my job, thus putting myself at risk for injury that the gloves could have prevented,” said Roosa, who works as a risk control specialist senior for Gallagher, a Rolling Meadows, Illinois-based insurance and risk consulting firm.