Introducing the first range of women’s PPE

Providing people in the foodservice industry with personal protection equipment (PPE) that fits correctly not only helps drive safety compliance, it also makes them feel more comfortable. Being safe and feeling comfortable is very important when you’re working for hours at a time but did you know the vast majority of women wear PPE that hasn’t been designed for them? That includes equipment like shoes, gloves, goggles, jackets and trousers.

Ashleigh Grau, one of our talented Strategic Sourcing Buyers, has helped introduce the first ever range of women’s PPE designed specifically for the foodservice industry. Ashleigh shares her experience below.

I’m proud to be proactively addressing the issue of PPE for women in the industry as well as supporting Compass Group UK & Ireland’s ‘Women in Food’ campaign. Women in Food aims to attract more women to embark on a career in the contract catering industry.

The idea to create a women’s range of PPE first came about when a colleague shared an article called “Women’s Personal Protection Equipment: One Size Does Not Fit All”. The article featured the results of a survey of nearly 4,000 women who wear PPE on a daily basis. Here’s some of the findings that really resonated with me:

  • Just 29% of women wear PPE designed specifically for women
  • 28% of respondents have been on the receiving end of negative comments whilst wearing their PPE
  • Of the women who wore PPE designed for men, only 2% described it as very comfortable
  • 57% of respondents said their PPE sometimes significantly hampers their work
  • 11% of respondents had worn standard PPE during pregnancy and 1% had worn maternity PPE

After further research, we realised there’s a big gap in the market for women’s PPE! We then began to visit clients to further understand the issues women encounter with PPE. Through these site visits and collaborating with the Compass’ Women in Food team, health and safety teams, and Bunzl – our non-food product and services partner, we were able to create a fantastic new range of women’s PPE to help meet the diverse needs of women in the workplace.

Our innovative women’s range now includes: slip resistant shoes, cut resistant gloves, safety goggles and high vis jackets and trousers. We’re not stopping there though, we will continue to work with our partners and clients to expand the range. If there’s something you think we’re missing please get in touch.

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