New Safety Vests Designed for Women in Construction

A Sweden-based company is innovating the designs of safety vests for women in the field.

Courtesy of Skanska

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women make up 9.9% of the construction workforce in the United States. Still, most equipment and apparel is created and designed for men. One company is working to change that.

Swedish company Skanska recently announced that they have developed two new safety vest designs specifically tailored to meet the needs of women working in construction fields. Among the key changes made to the traditional safety vest design is a tapered waist that removes unnecessary, bulky and potentially hazardous material.

“To truly live our values, we must keep the specific needs of individuals in mind, and that includes personal protective equipment that is designed and sized specifically for our growing female workforce,” said Jarret Mulligan, vice president of Skanska’s environmental, health, and safety program.

This new Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) incorporates suggestions from 25 women into two vest designs, the tapered version mentioned above and an non-tapered version with an adjustable elastic waist band. These vests are made from lightweight, breathable mesh materials to provide comfort in warm conditions and include a large front pocket and utility tabs on the chest for attaching items like voltage meters and microphones.

“With construction anticipated to grow by three percent this year and almost two million new jobs expected by 2021, we know that women will help fill these critical roles,” said Mulligan.

Skanska worked with Colony Hardware and construction gear manufacturer Radians to produce these safety vests. They plan to design more PPE for women in the near future, including fitted gloves and specialized hard hats. These two vest designs are currently provided to all female Skanska employees and will be available to the general public soon.