Editor’s Note: Safety for working women
Bureau of Labor Statistics data released in April shows that, in 2019 (the most recent year for which data is available), 57.4% of all women in the United States were part of the labor force. To mark Women’s History Month, Safety+Health Associate Editor Barry Bottino has written about some of the safety issues experienced by today’s working women.
The topics discussed in Barry’s article will surprise very few people in the occupational safety and health community. You’ve heard about them for a long time. Included is a lack of proper-fitting personal protective equipment. National Safety Council President and CEO Lorraine M. Martin, an Air Force veteran, has shared her own stories of having trouble obtaining boots small enough to fit her when she was actively serving. Women-specific PPE is much more widely available than it was when Lorraine was an active service member. Yet we continue to hear that many employers aren’t providing it.
PPE is just one of multiple safety issues that women experience on the job, and that the safety community needs to keep talking about. One group available to NSC members is the council’s Women’s Division, which works to raise awareness of “issues affecting women disproportionately in the workplace.” NSC adds that “all are welcome to be a part of the division, regardless of gender identity or industry.” For more information, visit the divisions page on the NSC website.
Here’s hoping that by having more voices out there, more employers will gain an understanding of what they need to do to help all women truly feel safe on the job. And here’s to all the safety pros who promote the message.