Personal protective equipment (PPE) shouldn't be selected just for the "typical" field worker. In fact, there are many reasons someone will visit the field requiring proper protection. Visitors (think Administrative Assistants on a group rig tour or a guest safety or environmental auditor) up to the VPs and Executives that run the company (think investor tour). These people all require adequate protection, and the company is required to provide it. However, most of today's companies are not equipped to protect these types of employees, simply because they have not purchased PPE adequately sized for them. Partially because it's likely seen as an unnecessary investment and partially because simply there are not a lot of options available that would perform better.
But there are real reasons that the proper selection matters.
The #1 value for many industrial companies is Safety. And proper identification and selection of PPE is an OSHA required exercise. The reasons for this are to ensure that workers are protected from the hazards they may face while on the job. In the medical world, its face masks, gowns, and gloves that they use for protection, and for energy workers it is flame-resistant clothing or FRC. While this clothing is protective against flammable or explosive materials or equipment, it can also become a safety hazard on its own when it does not properly fit the worker. For many of women, this clothing isn't made for them; therefore it doesn't fit, and is unsafe. All the rolling, cuffing and nip and tucking is not only a safety concern, but a fashion tragedy! And ultimately it impacts how the worker performs on the job.
What you wear matters. And what you wear to work matters even more as we spend so much time in our work environments. When it comes to women and confidence, wearing improper fitting PPE is the fastest way to deflate their confidence. Working in male populated industries is hard enough, let alone showing up to the field or drilling rig in clothing that is definitely not your size, definitely not your style and also doesn't project your authority or influence. Regardless of where the job takes them, from the board room to the drilling rig, all workers should be comfortable and confident in what they are wearing.
Inclusion and Diversity
Environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) and PPE go together but not how you may think. In the case of many women, this is an area that scores low on the inclusivity scale. While there has historically been a fairly low percentages of women working in industrial roles, that is shifting and there are more and more women working in trades, in STEM related field AND increasing numbers in leadership and C-Suite positions at many large companies. It is estimated that as many as 7 million women are working in oil and gas alone, making up 24% of that workforce. However, the FRC options for women to choose from is still embarrassingly low. Further, the pink it and shrink it movement that also hit this industry about 15 years ago sadly hasn't moved much since. However, there are a handful of companies taking note and finally making products that are tailored for women offering a better fit and options that are more professionally appropriate. There is still a long way to go for equity in selection, but fortunately progress is being made and it is moving in the right direction.
When it comes to outfitting your female workers, no investment is too little. Whether they wear it all day, every day or only occasionally, it's especially important to their overall wellbeing to provide options that make them feel safe, comfortable, and confident.
If you are looking for a new option for any of your female workers book a trunk show. We bring our clothes to you and your employees get the proper PPE they deserve.