Barhale brings in PPE to 'support religious diversity'
Irina Ichim wears a modesty tunic, part of BCS’s new range designed to ensure the wearer is able to adhere to their religious beliefs while staying safe onsite.
Barhale subsidiary BCS Group has launched a range of culturally appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to support religious diversity, in what it claims is a UK first.
The company says the collection of workwear, designed by Leo Workwear specifically for women, is recognition of the fact that women now make up 14% of the sector’s workforce.
The new PPE includes culturally-appropriate tunics made to allow women of all religions to feel comfortable at work and maternity wear designed to reflect the physiological changes women undergo during pregnancy.
The clothing has already been trialled at BCS’s parent company, contractor Barhale.
Across the ladieswear range, the clothes offer a different cut from standard PPE as well as revised detailing – including alternative pocket and reflective material placement – to reflect body form and to maximise utility and safety. Other notable differences include a narrow cut to trousers and smaller length and width fittings for safety footwear.
Kirstie Fish, head of signs & supplies at BCS Group, said: “According to a recent Women into Construction report, there are now almost 300,000 women working in construction. As this number rises, construction companies have a duty of care to provide for women in their employ, and this includes providing the correct safety equipment such as PPE.
“A 2016 survey by the TUC showed that 57% of respondent women found that their PPE sometimes hampered their work. As the report pointed out, this is hardly surprising given that most PPE is based on the sizes and characteristics of male populations from the US and Europe.
“We have always seen ourselves at the forefront of encouraging diversity. The new range of maternity and culturally-appropriate PPE shows how seriously BCS Group takes its commitment and is part of a wider programme within the group to reduce the gender gap in construction. As a sector we want to attract more women and this can only help.”