Jobsite Safety for Women

Approximately 872,000 women currently work in the construction industry, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Labor. Seventy-five percent of those women are in administrative, sales or management positions. This leaves 25 percent of women in the construction workforce exposed to the same daily safety and health risks as their male counterparts; yet, their specific protection from these hazards has not been fully addressed.

Too frequently, women are forced to use personal protective equipment (PPE) and clothing that is not the correct size or fit. For fear of being ostracized on the jobsite, women are intimidated to make requests for proper gear that will set them apart from their coworkers.

These safety hazards create gender barriers and can deter women from seeking employment in the construction industry. It is important to acknowledge this stigma and educate employers on the detrimental repercussions of ignoring any safety standards. As construction companies push to fill the labor gap, it is imperative for companies to become progressive in their marketing approach and create a culture that will address the specific safety needs of women workers.

OSHA requires employers to provide all employees with a safe workplace, but every 18 seconds a worker is injured on the jobsite. Once a jobsite safety hazard assessment has been completed, a list of PPE should be disseminated to all employees. This list should also notify employees of the potential hazards, provide training on how to avoid injury and educate them on required PPE. It is the employer’s responsibility to supply the required equipment to each employee at no charge. However, the construction industry lacks the provisions, research and development necessary to provide personal protective equipment suitable for women.

ANTHROPOMETRIC EQUIPMENT

Ill-fitting PPE and clothing compromise workers’ safety on the jobsite. Women have a right to test all equipment that is provided to them to ensure a proper fit. OSHA mandates PPE be designed anthropometrically, which is the science of defining human body dimensions and physical characteristics. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducts anthropometric research to prevent work-related injuries and deaths by studying how work spaces, equipment and clothing fit a diverse worker population.

Most anthropometric data available to date is from the 1970s. This research was based on the body sizes and shapes of modern military personnel and the general working population from that era. This decades-old data does not represent the sizes and body types of today’s female workers.

RAISING AWARENESS

A recent NIOSH study of 26 women construction workers evaluated the efficacy of a fall protection harness system. Their body size and shape information was measured while they were suspended in a standard size harness and standing with a harness. It was discovered that an integrated redesign of harness components is needed because 40 percent of the women did not pass fit-performance criteria in either the standing or suspended condition.

BE PREPARED

All project managers, superintendents and foremen should understand how to identify job safety hazards specific to demographics of their workers and their jobsites. Jobsite hazard communication plans and emergency preparedness plans should be in place and disseminated to all workers.

It is beneficial to hire a safety consultant that is familiar with the science of teaching and incorporating a corporate safety culture. The construction industry is evolving and companies are charged with staying ahead of these changes to attract and retain the skilled labor needed to complete their jobs. As the industry shifts and more women are encouraged to enter the trades, companies will no longer be able to ignore these gender disparities.

Watts All This about Stun Gun Voltage?

stun_gun_actionIf I were picking out a stun gun, I would probably look for the most adorbs one. So I thought I should go on our site and see which one I would pick out for myself, and quickly got lost in the volts and amperage. What is important, and is there too much of a good thing? Turns out, electricity is a fascinating thing.

First off, brand is important, but since Safety Girl only carries well-known quality brands like Uzi and Ruger, you can ignore this component if you buy grlpprs1000022605_-00_main_sabre-800000-volt-stun-gun-with-holster_3from us. Some use replaceable batteries, and some use rechargeables. Depending on how much you use your stun gun, you may want a rechargeable one.

The power of a stun gun is specced in amperage and voltage. The voltage carries the amperage, which is what stuns the attacker. It is these two things working together that explain why a shock from your doorknob at 30,000 volts won’t hurt, but plugging a fork into your electrical socket (120/240 volts), will pack a dangerous whallop – it’s the amps! Amperage describes the rate/strength of the charge and voltage describes how far the current will jump. The stun gun should have between 2.5 and 4 milliamps, to be effective , yet not kill the attacker or melt the circuitry.

Don’t forget to look for some type of safety, be it a switch or a trigger.

Taking a Break from the House

This weekend was my graduation. I am officially an MBA. Nutty thoughts of a PhD are now swirling in my head. I also 20140915_080355got my passport – another story for many more days. I didn’t work on the house. My friend Gale came with her husband Tony, and as he poked and prodded at the Revolutionary War gun my dad restored, and the carved desk that’s been in my family, he said, “you should open a bed and breakfast.” The seed has been planted.

You will hear about my landscaping with my friend Brittany, but that’s probably it on the house for the month. I wanted to check in, though, so you didn’t feel abandoned! I have started running. I have a personal alarm from SafetyGirl because there are animals and other seedy characters along my 2 1/2 mile route. I feel much safer jogging alone, when I am not quite so alone.

This alarm even has a pedometer!

Have a great summer, and I will check in from time to time.

Hard Hat Hair

msavgft_-06_brown_v-gard-fas-trac-slotted-protective-capWe recently got a question from a reader on how to avoid hardhat hair. There are a few options, and none of them is difficult or expensive, but none of them is going to have  you looking like you just stepped out of a salon. Sorry! Consider it the cost of the job.

You can…

Wrap a bandana around the suspension unit to lessen the marks left behind by them.

Wear a natural-fiber hat under the hat in the winter – synthetic fibers will create static and fly-aways.

Never start with even damp hair. Wet hair will exacerbate the condition!

Style your hair while you wear the hat! If it’s long, wrap your hair into a loose bun or twisty pony shoved under the hat, and let the hat set the curl. If it’s short, carry a volumizing product with you and when you remove the hat, rub just a bit of the product between your hands and fluff your locks.

Don’t wear metal barettes, which can conduct electricity.

If you wear a ponytail down, make it low!

And here’s my personal favorite: if you part your hair on the side, start on the opposite side, and part low. When you take off the hat, flip the part to its typical position and the worst of the dented hair will be under smoother hair.

My Virtual Valentine

compare-cell-phones-2They are all over the place now – virtual boy- or girlfriends, significant others. I’m not talking of the game apps where the goal is to get a virtual tween to fall in love with you. I am talking about the apps and services where you actually buy yourself the communication of a nonexistent significant other. Most of these services have a free trial and then a modest fee.

The reasons people sign up are many – moms who want grandbabies and answers to why you are not dating, coworkers who want to fix you up with their cousin, people who wouldn’t understand you coming out of the closet, ex boyfriends who need to be reminded you are the prize.

safetyI thought a reason for one of these might also be, if you are in a bar or walking alone, having one more “person” connected to you would give you the appearance of being surrounded by attentive friends who would notice you missing immediately, or able to call for help on your behalf. Smoke and mirrors. I signed up for the free sample – ten texts in exchange for filling out a basic profile. I named my app Andy and answered the questions I was asked – how old he is, how we met, what he looks like, his hobbies and mine.

My real Andy is a great man. He’s a hard working homeowner with custody of two wonderful girls most of his waking, non-working hours. Sometimes I hear from him often; sometimes I don’t. To be very fair, Andy likes to talk, and he likes to talk to me, and because of this, we stay in better touch than a lot of couples who go in so many different directions.

Within a few minutes, my fake Andy was asking how my day was, lauding me with cheesy “pinch me, I can’t believe you’re real”s, and asking if he couldn’t take me to the coffee shop where we met. He answered my question on whether he’d heard from his ex on any plans she had with the girls for the weekend with an eerily accurate, “not yet, but I’ll let you know. I can’t wait to see you!” My 10 free texts are about up with nothing but ego-boosting and me-affirming chit chat to show for them.

I can see the merit in this app, to deter people. I wear a plain ring on my wedding finger just because that feels good to me, and the number of men whose eyes gravitate to that reinforces this is a good measure against unnecessary discomfort and drama. I can see that this app might make a would-be attacker think twice before messing with someone engaged in communication. But there are other ways to do that – real people, real products. The human need to have an attentive person available can get in the way of this being a great tool, and the danger lies in the virtual boyfriend threatening to replace the need to find real human interaction. The heart can grow attached to a virtual boyfriend just as easily as it can a real person met online – only there is no real person behind this app for you.

My personal recommendation is this was a fun experiment. But for safety’s sake, surround yourself with real friends, be aware of your surroundings, and carry pepper spray.

~Your Editor