InTents April/May 2022 - 42

business | safety
The shape of safety
Sourcing the right clothing, equipment for all members of your team.
By Sigrid Tornquist
F
OSHA on personal
protective equipment
The required safety clothing and
equipment varies depending on the
location and work being done, but
OSHA generally defi nes personal
protective equipment (PPE) as any
equipment worn to minimize exposure
to hazards that cause serious workplace
injuries and illnesses. All PPE should
be safely designed and constructed,
and should be maintained in a clean
and reliable fashion. It should fi t
comfortably, encouraging worker use.
If the personal protective equipment
does not fi t properly, it can make
the difference between being safely
covered or dangerously exposed.
When engineering, work practice,
and administrative controls are not
feasible or do not provide suffi cient
protection, employers must provide
personal protective equipment to their
workers and ensure its proper use.
it and function cannot be separated
when it comes to protective clothing-and
yet for years, anyone who didn't
possess a " typical " male body-type standard
needed to make do if they wanted to
work in ields that rely on wearing protective
clothing. For the most part, women
who wanted to work in those ields were
entirely left out of the design equation-
and consequently were put at risk. Now,
thanks to the dedicated efforts of innovative
designers, that is no longer the case.
Same materials, different design
Protective clothing needs to meet the speciic
safety requirements of the user's job,
whether that be protection from heat,
chemicals, cold or any challenging environment.
Additionally, the clothing needs
to allow mobility. " If your clothing has protective
properties, but you can't move safely,
the effectiveness of the PPE [personal
protective equipment] drops signiicantly, "
says Emelia Black, product designer, sustainability
manager for DragonWear®
, Seattle, Wash. " Quality is
" It's important to us to use the same materials
in our women's PPE as our men's,
and to have the same functionality in the
design. Pink it and shrink it as a design
philosophy for women's PPE is a cheap
shortcut that could lead to safety issues.
" Of course, there's nothing wrong with
pink PPE if the jobsite allows it and it is
the customer's style, " she continues. " But
it better be designed for a wide variety
of women's igures and offer the correct
mobility, functionality and protection. "
Women, on average, per the general U.S.
at
True North Gear®
also a major factor. If your seam rips while
you're in a dangerous environment, you're
suddenly exposed to the hazards that the
clothing was protecting you against. "
Designers working within the protective
clothing space are rejecting the " pink
it and shrink it " strategy, which has historically
taken an existing product made for
men and simply made it smaller and pink.
" Everyone who has shopped for heavyduty
women's jeans knows the dreaded
super-thin denim with tiny pockets design
that is all too common, " Black says.
42 intents april-may 2022
female population, vary greatly in their
anthropometric proportions, compared
to the male human form, according
to Florida State University's Meredith
McQuerry PhD, director of the Textile
Testing Laboratory in Tallahassee, Fla.
" For example, women's waist-to-hip ratio
can vary more than 12 inches, compared
to men's, which typically only varies by 5
inches, on average. "
What makes this dificult from a design
perspective is the fact that women's
shapes tend to differ more greatly from
one woman to another than men's do.
" Men's shapes tend to be straight up and
down with a larger chest and smaller hips,
whatever the size, " says Rosalie Lovett,
senior designer at True North Gear. " Some
women are pear shaped, some heart
shaped, some more rectangular shaped.
Some women have large breasts, and
some have small. We have to create one
garment for all those shapes. "
While the proportions of protective
clothing need to vary to accommodate
both male and female proportions, the

InTents April/May 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of InTents April/May 2022

InTents April/May 2022 - Cover1
InTents April/May 2022 - Cover2
InTents April/May 2022 - 1
InTents April/May 2022 - 2
InTents April/May 2022 - 3
InTents April/May 2022 - 4
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