Tips for Women in Construction
The number of women in construction continues to grow. As women on construction sites become more common, there are specific safety needs that need to be met. Every employer should do their part in ensuring the wellbeing of their workers, but as more women enter this field, it’s essential to be increasingly mindful. For women in construction, these are some safety things to consider.
Traditionally, construction has been a male-dominant field. Be mindful of this as women become more prevalent in the industry. These are some ways to promote inclusivity of female workers.
- Have workplace HR training. These sessions can include sexual harassment workshops to remind employees of appropriate workplace behavior. It’s also a good idea to set rules or guidelines for your workplace, regardless of gender.
- Have mentorship programs. It can be hard for women to enter a male-dominant field. To help combat this, start a mentorship or apprenticeship program. Pairing women together may ease workplace isolation.
- Make sure that managers and supervisors are educated and ready to handle situations that may arise with a co-ed work environment. This could also include training supervisors on female-specific parts of the company policy, eg. maternity leave.
- Women may feel isolated or more hesitant to bring up issues. Encourage communication among all employees, and particularly for female employees. It can be isolating to be a woman in construction, so having effective communication between supervisors and employees can help break those barriers.
Health and Safety Training
Having a safe and healthy workplace is necessary for every business. Making sure that employees are educated and well-equipped to do their job safely not only prevents accidents but could ultimately save money for the business.
- Make sure that tools and other equipment are accessible to both men and women.
- Lifting and carrying techniques may vary between men and women. They can also vary between people of different builds, sizes, strengths, etc. Teach these to your employees so they are able to do their job safely.
- For any protective or safety wearables, make sure they are the correct size for women. Ill-fitting clothing or other safety items could become a danger.
- To help increase inclusivity in the workplace, use training guides and safety signs with women pictured.
- Have safety data sheets available to all employees. Employees should be aware of the potential dangers they are facing on the job. These could be particularly important in regard to women’s reproductive health.
- Take special precautions with women who are pregnant. Make the appropriate accommodations if necessary.
Access to Facilities
As more women join the construction industry, access to proper facilities becomes increasingly important as well. These could include the following:
- Provide women access to their own gender-specific locker rooms or changing areas.
- Ensure that bathrooms and other areas are cleaned regularly and remain sanitary.
- As with any workplace, make sure that facilities are maintained and workers have access when necessary. This could include access to a sink and soap when needed. Employees should feel like they are able to access facilities as they need throughout the workday.
Making your employees feel included and safe is essential. Women in construction used to be a rarity, but it’s becoming more common each day. Having women in this field may require a few adjustments initially. However, including women in construction will be beneficial to both employees and the business. Talk to your insurance agent about how you can help protect your business and your employees!