Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) still not designed to protect health and safety of women, according to new research by CSA Group

Statistics Canada estimates that 9.3 million women of working age participate in the Canadian labour market. However, a recent survey reveals that only 6% of women say that the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) they wear is designed for them. A new report published by CSA Group, Canadian Women’s Experiences with Personal Protective Equipment in the Workplace, offers an enlightening perspective on the current situation and reviews several gaps that need to be addressed.

This report is aimed at gaining a better understanding of the extent to which physical differences are taken into account in the development of PPE and PPE standards for men and women. This report synthesizes the findings of a review of the scientific and grey literature, an environmental scan of PPE regulations, key informant interviews, and a survey of nearly 3000 Canadian women who use PPE in their daily job functions.

Key findings include:

  • Research shows that anthropometric differences exist between the sexes and that women are not merely scaled down versions of men. The significance of this is two-fold: (a) protective clothing and other PPE that are designed based on men’s proportions cannot be simply scaled down linearly to fit women; and (b) good quality anthropometric data representative of the contemporary working population are critical for the inclusive design of PPE.
  • Canadian regulations do not consistently require that selected PPE provide protection appropriate to the hazards and that it fit the user properly.
  • There is no consistency in PPE standards and editions that are referenced in regulations across the country.
  • Functional fit and comfort are two of the most important parameters in the design and usage of PPE. Canadian women identified these factors – along with trust that their PPE will protect them and allow them to move around to do their job – as key to satisfaction with their PPE. However, a significant number of women reported experiencing one or more problems with their PPE.
  • The three most common problems the Canadian women surveyed have with their PPE are that
    1. it does not fit properly (50%);
    2. it is uncomfortable to wear (43%); and
    3. the selection of women-specific PPE is inadequate (35%).

To try and address these issues, women are paying out of pocket to source PPE with a better fit or that is specifically designed for women, and modifying or altering their PPE for safety, comfort, and improved fit.

  • The Canadian women surveyed reported that
  1. they use PPE that is the wrong size at least some of the time (58%);
  2. they don’t wear all the required PPE at work because of issues with fit (28%); and
  3. they use a workaround to make their PPE fit (38%).

Workarounds included using rubber bands, safety pins, and/or duct tape to shorten fall-arrest gear, secure work gloves, shorten sleeves, and prevent their pant legs from tripping them. Nearly 40% reported experiencing an injury or incident that they perceived to be related to their PPE.

Although PPE is considered to be the last line of defence and should only be used where other control measures are not practicable, PPE is widely used by employers because it is a simple and inexpensive way to control exposure or the PPE may provide supplementary protection where other controls are not adequately protective. For these reasons, it is paramount that the PPE fits each worker properly, that it provides maximal and effective protection, and that the workers can trust it to protect them and prevent injury.

Visit CSA Group’s website to download Canadian Women’s Experiences with Personal Protective Equipment in the Workplace.


The 14th Annual 2024 Hybrid Summit will be held January 2024, Date & Location TBD.

Read more BELOW

January 26th, 2023
The 13th Annual Hybrid Summit was held on January 26th, 2023 Noon to 4 PM EST.

Virtual Women in Construction: Building Connections was held on December 14th, 2022, 1 PM to 2 PM EST via a Zoom. 2023 Virtual Women in Construction TBD.

2023 Virtual Men’s Round Tables

2023 Men’s Round Table #1 will be held Q3, 2023

2023 Virtual Women’s Round Tables

2023 Women’s Round Table #1 will be held Q2, 2023


Partnerships fuel Krispy Kreme’s expansion

Krispy Kreme’s multi-year makeover has focused on growing the brand’s presence in more outlets by turning some underperforming stores into order fulfillment locations for convenience and grocery stores. Last year, Krispy Kreme started supplying its doughnuts to nine McDonald’s restaurants in a partnership that grew

See Website for Details

This content (including text, artwork, graphics, photography, and video) was provided by the third party(ies) as referenced above. Any rights or other content questions or inquiries should be directed such third-party provider(s).