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Industry applauds effort to give women properly fitted gear

Grants were awarded for safety harnesses designed especially for women.

Associated General Contractors of America is partnering with Autodesk to equip more women in construction with properly fitting safety harnesses.

The two are awarding grants to 21 construction firms to provide more than 300 fall protection safety harnesses designed for women.

The grants are designed to address one of the most significant safety hazards for construction craft professionals and recruit more women into high-paying construction careers.

“We recognize the need for more women to join the construction industry to help fill the labor gap, and keeping them as safe as possible must be top priority,” said Allison Scott, director at Autodesk.

“For 300 women in construction, AGC and Autodesk are highlighting this need, and this is a first step in drawing attention to the importance of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other customized equipment for women.”

Scott noted that women make up less than nine percent of the total construction workforce, and less than three percent of the construction craft professional workforce, according to federal data.

Meanwhile, U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration data shows that falls in construction are one of the ”fatal four” leading contributors to injury and death for workers in the industry.

“Our members understand that the best way to recruit more women into the industry is to make sure they have the support to do their jobs safely,” said AGC of America’s chief executive officer, Stephen E. Sandherr.

“These grants will help equip hundreds of women with the kind of custom equipment and properly-fitting safety gear they need most.”

Sandherr noted that ill-fitting personal protective equipment can fail to prevent and even contribute to serious injury from falls.

He added that the grants will help construction firms address labor shortages at a time when 80 percent of firms report having a hard time finding enough qualified workers to hire.

“We are constantly innovating and addressing ergonomics and safety to help our workers do their jobs better,” said Russ Nicolai, safety manager Snyder Roofing. “We couldn’t be more pleased to have conversation and ultimately equipment to address the needs of women in the roofing industry.”

“Men make up 90 percent of the construction labor force. The crushing labor shortage has highlighted that an entire gender comprising more than 50 percent of the population has zero exposure to construction,” added Anne Brown, director of business development and marketing, Christman Constructors, Inc.

“It’s time to focus on supporting women and opening their eyes to this great field.”

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