Making Safety of Women in the Construction Industry a Priority

Due to the unique challenges that women face in the construction industry, the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) has signed a two-year alliance with OSHA, according to The alliance will create targeted training materials and resources for companies to use with their female employees.

The materials will focus on three topics: sanitation, poorly fitting PPE and musculoskeletal hazards.

PPE is of particular interest, as women in the workplace have found it difficult to find properly fitting PPE due to their typically smaller frames and different body proportions. In relation to musculoskeletal hazards, the alliance has added this section because women are more at risk for ergonomic injuries due to the extra force they exert. Many machines and tools are built for the strength of a man, and some women may injure themselves trying to use these machines. The sanitation portion refers to the fact that women may not use temporary restrooms due to their unsanitary conditions.

According to OHSA, though the number of women in construction increased heavily from 1985-2007, it began decreasing during the economic downturn. More and more women are joining the construction industry, however, according to the article. In 2010, there were 800,000 women in the construction field—a number that only continues to grow. Approximately 200,000 of the 800,000 women are employed in labor, electricity, plumbing, production and more.

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Posted by Jamie Friedlander on Sep 13, 2013