Software company Autodesk is funding a grant programme with the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) to supply contractors with fall protection harnesses sized for women.
The aim is to remove barriers to women wanting to work in construction, and the initiative comes at a time when 80% of construction firms report difficulty filling craft positions.Â
The programme partners said women represent just 10% of the overall construction labour force, with even lower representation in trades.Â
Autodesk said: "Ill-fitting PPE can range from uncomfortable to downright dangerous. For example, a fall protection harness that’s too loose may still catch a woman when the scaffolding beneath her collapses, but it could seriously injure her neck or shoulder in the process.
"This not only affects the injured worker, but her employer as well. The contractor incurs lost time, productivity and – potentially – a costly worker’s compensation claim."
Around 300 fall protection harnesses sized for women can be purchased by AGC-member contractors with grants supplied by Autodesk.
Contractors have until 10 January 2020 to apply for the grant, which can be done here.Â
"The construction industry agrees safety must be everyone’s priority, but we also need to recognise when safety needs aren’t being met for some workers," said Allison Scott, director, Autodesk Construction Solutions. "Technology is improving jobsite safety, but it’s not a silver bullet."
She added: "The industry needs more people, and women must feel safe and welcome on jobsites if we want them to choose a career in construction. Ultimately, when we address safety for women, we improve safety for everyone."
Photograph courtesy of Hensel Phelps, via AGC