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WOMEN'S SAFETY AND HEALTH ISSUES AT WORK

five women standing side by side

Health Concerns: Personal Protective Equipment

Women may face health and safety risks because personal protective equipment and clothing are often designed for average-sized men. The protective function of respirators, work gloves, work boots, and other protective equipment may be reduced when they do not fit properly.

NIOSH Publications

Personal Protective Equipment for Health Care Workers Who Work with Hazardous Drugs
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2009-106 (October 2008)

Related Resources

Physiological burden associated with the use of filtering facepiece respirators (N95 Masks) during pregnancy
A review of the medical literature concluded that very little rigorous scientific data exist on the physiological burden associated with the use of filtering facepiece respirators by pregnant women, and no definitive conclusions can be reached at this time.

Provision and use of personal protective equipment among home care and hospice nurses in North Carolina
The study found that the public health policy of providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to health care workers and ensuring that they use that equipment to prevent occupational blood exposure is not being fully implemented for home care and hospice nurses. Greater provision of PPE could reduce blood exposure in this population. Conditions of the home care/hospice work environment may be impeding nurses’ ability to use PPE. 

The effect of subject characteristics and respirator features on respirator fit
Five methods used to test how well a respirator fit were compared using 18 models of NIOSH-certified, N95 filtering-face piece respirators. The test used simulations to look at the effect of participant characteristics (gender and face dimensions) and respirator features (design style and sizes available) on respirator fit. Based on the findings from this and other studies, measuring face length and width should be used to define the panel for half-face piece respirators.

Tradeswomen's perspectives on occupational health and safety: a qualitative investigation
The major health and safety concerns of women employed in the construction trades are discussed. Researchers found the major concerns were: exposure to chemical and physical agents; injuries from lifting, bending, twisting, falling and being cut; lack of proper education and training; and health and safety risks related specifically to tradeswomen (inadequate protective clothing and tools, etc.)

 
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