The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently pledged to renew its partnership with the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) to help build a safer, healthier work environment for female construction workers. Together, they will continue to provide women with information, guidance and access to training resources.
Government Increases Support for Women in Construction
The five-year initiative will address workplace hazards that are particular to women in construction, including personal protective equipment, sanitation and workplace intimidation and violence.
“Women represent a small, but growing segment of the construction workforce,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. “OSHA’s renewed alliance with NAWIC will continue to promote innovative solutions to safety and health hazards unique to female construction workers.”
OSHA and the NAWIC will share information on recognizing and preventing workplace hazards in construction for women, including campaigns like the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, Heat Illness Prevention and the Safe + Sound Campaign for Safety and Health Programs.
Alliance to Address Women’s Workplace Hazards
Today, women in construction comprise only nine percent of the total employment in the industry. Their two biggest concerns — women’s personal protective equipment and a lack of sanitary or adequate bathroom facilities — continue to hurt employment. For example, some women have reported not drinking water during the day to avoid having to use the bathroom.
Getting the Word Out
In order to spread the message of recognition and prevention of women in construction’s workplace hazards, the two organizations will use a comprehensive marketing strategy, including:
- Print media
- Electronic media
- The OSHA and NAWIC website
- Speaking engagements
- Special events
The Plan to Improve Equality
OSHA’s alliance with NAWIC aims to raise awareness, share information and create innovative workplace solutions on:
- Occupational safety and health laws
- Standards and guidance resources
- The rights and responsibilities of workers and employers
To achieve these goals, they will convene or participate in forums, roundtable discussions and stakeholder meetings. The agreement also encourages NAWIC chapters to build relationships with OSHA’s regional and area offices.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible to provide safe and healthy workplaces to all employees regardless of gender. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women are met by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.