One Size Doesn

One Size Doesn't Fit All

Women are becoming a much larger part of the manufacturing industry. Are industry suppliers ready to outfit and protect this growing segment of the workforce?

With more women entering the manufacturing workplace, its incumbent on our industry to adapt appropriately by providing more products designed specifically for women.

There has been a post-pandemic surge of women moving into the manufacturing workforce, as women now account for 30 percent of all manufacturing jobs in the United States. On top of that, there is an initiative being led by the Manufacturing Institute called “35 x 30” that is focused on growing those numbers to 35 percent by the year 2030.

In real numbers, since the end of the pandemic, females working in manufacturing now account for 3.77 million workers, an increase of 102,000 workers since pre-pandemic.

As an industry, it’s more important than ever to support this shift in the workplace with products made specifically for this growing segment of the workforce.

What this means, specifically for the PPE vision market, is the development of products that are lighter-weight, form-fitting, and designed to fit a woman’s face.

Key features that will help to provide a snug, contoured, and reliable fit that workers should expect in women’s specific PPE vision protection include a bi-material ultra-flexible temple and a non-slip adjustable nose bridge to help assure a custom fit. At the same time, advancements in lens technology that are found in larger men’s sizes should also be included in women’s offerings, including anti-fog and anti-scratch lens technology to ensure an overall safer experience.

Choosing the Right Protection

In choosing the right vision protection, women should consider the type of protection they need – are they moving from indoor to outdoor environments? Are they in an environment where particles are flying around? Are they working around heavy machinery or performing work under fluorescent lights all day? Each of these situations brings a different set of conditions into play that will alter the type of protection needed.

Here are some key features that women should look for when selecting PPE vision protection: 

Curved Frame - The curve of the frame will define whether the model is more or less wraparound. Curved products will offer more protection as they will be closer to the face. If too small, highly curved products may be uncomfortable for the wearer. For prescription eyewear, less curved products can accommodate higher prescriptions.

Nose Bridge – One of the most essential components. The bridge guarantees the products sit at the right position on the wearer’s face. The nose bridge can be molded within the frame to be as ergonomic as possible or can be adjusted to fit most face shapes. Versions with memory foam further ensure a customized fit. Some styles come with non-slip temples that allow for the eyewear to maintain an optimum fit at all times. Available on most premium products, these temples are often designed with a pattern that maximizes grip.

Bi-Material Frames – Frames made with two different kinds of materials are usually engineered with one material dedicated to providing robustness, while the other material ensures more comfortable wear or improved support.

Flexible Temples - Correctly fitted temples ensure the product stays on the wearer’s head at all times and reduces pressure points on the temples and behind the ears. Some hinges can open on a wider angle to provide a better fit and reduce discomfort.

Pivoting and Adjustable Temples - Pivoting and adjustable temples provide a large range of fit with a single model. They provide optimal support and improved protection by sitting properly on both the ears and nose.

Hybrid Products – A more versatile product designed for someone who is required to interchange glasses and goggles. Removable temples ensure the product is as light as possible for extra comfort.

Frame Size – Many models are available in different sizes; make sure you pick the one that is most suited to your face size to ensure they provide optimal coverage. Choosing the right size will provide better support, without any pressure points, for more comfortable wear.

Foam and Strap Kits – An additional strap or foam might improve protection and support. These kits are available on a large selection of models and can, in some cases, alter the classification of the impact rating.

Vision protection is no longer a one-size-fits-all category, and there is a wide range of options for women getting into the category that didn’t exist, even as recently as pre-pandemic.

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2023 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

Product Showcase

  • Make selection & use of SRLs simpler with the new V-SHOCK line

    Make selection & use of SRLs simpler with the new V-SHOCK line

    The new MSA V-SHOCK EDGE Cable SRLs and Web PFLs for Leading Edge use are designed for simplicity and hassle-free safety. V-SHOCK EDGE solutions help make PPE selection on the jobsite quick and easy with color-coded housings, clear icons on labels, and clearance charts in the label pack. 3

  • The MGC Simple Plus

    The MGC Simple Plus

    The MGC Simple Plus is a simple-to-use, portable multi-gas detector that runs continuously for three years without needing to be recharged or routinely calibrated after its initial charge and calibration during manufacturing. The detector reliably tests a worksite’s atmosphere for hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, oxygen and combustible gases (LEL). Additionally, it is durable enough to withstand the harshest treatment and environments, which is why it has an IP 68 rating. The MGC Simple Plus is also compatible with a variety of accessories, such as Gas Clip Technologies’ new GCT External Pump. Visit for more information. 3

  • Magellan X Pte Ltd

    Hesitate No More with SOL-X Connected Worker Health & Safety Solution

    According to the National Safety Council, work-related medically consulted injuries total 4.26 million in 2021 in USA alone. SOL-X solution prevents “human factors” safety issues by anticipating incidents and improving compliance workflows. Leverages digital technologies (IIoT, AI and analytics) to predict patterns from occurring and make informed decisions. Control Of Work - gets rid of tedious paperwork and experience digital workflows. Crew Protect - maximises safety and situational awareness with health trackers and situational indicators. Award-winning Intrinsically Safe SmartWatch – innovative features that enable near real-time visibility and connected well-being. Works well with major connectivity protocols like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Long-Range Bluetooth! 3