The great underwear challenge

The great underwear challenge

For decades, women in industries requiring PPE have been an afterthought.  Despite the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 requiring that personal protective equipment provided for use at work should be suitable and capable of fitting the wearer correctly, garments are typically designed for men, creating at best, uncomfortable to wear clothing and at worst, a safety hazard for the women who need to wear them.

The TUC guide Personal Protective Equipment and Women reports that in a 2016 survey conducted by a number of organisations including the Prospect trade union, 57% of women who took part found that their PPE sometimes or significantly hampered their work.

For those women working in electrical environments and at risk from an arc flash, having properly fitting PPE is the difference between operating safely and the risk of life-changing injuries or even death.  

Increasingly, PPE suppliers are waking up to these specialist needs.  ProGarm has been leading the way, with its women’s collection launched in 2019.  Amongst the specially-designed items available for women is a flame resistant bra.

Underwear, and specifically a bra, is a critical element of a flame-resistant kit.  It’s hugely important consideration when it comes to ensuring full protection is in place and that the required Cal rating has been achieved.   

Two things that people are relentlessly told to avoid wearing when working in electrically-charged environments are metal and synthetic materials because of how easily they burn.  It’s also two things that most women’s bras are made from.  This means that all too easily, a women could inadvertently undermine even the most sophisticated arc-flash rated kit by wearing a high-street bra.

The ProGarm bra is part of a range of flame-resistant accessories and can form part of total arc-flash solution.  Made from 330gsm fabric, it has been rigorously tested to meet the EN 1149 standard.  It’s available in black in a range of sizes and has been sympathetically designed to blend comfort and wearability with durability and protective fabric qualities.

Employers have an important role to play in ensuring everyone is wearing the appropriate kit to undertake their work.  This means fit for purpose, meets the standards identified in the risk assessment and properly fitting.  It’s not enough to modify men’s garments in the hope that women will make do; not only will it create something that’s uncomfortable to wear but it’s unsafe, especially in high-risk environments.  The TUC report goes on to state that only 29% of women are wearing PPE that has been specifically designed for them.  This isn’t good enough and employers need to be part of the change.

To explore our range of women’s arc-flash garments or talk about items you’d like us to consider producing, get in touch by calling +44 (0) 1482 679600 or email info@progarmcurrent.wpengine.com.

Make sure that you’re specifying the right PPE for your team.

Read our free guide on the top considerations when choosing Arc Flash clothing & PPE below and make the best choice for you and your team via the link below ⬇.

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