The new requirement for gender inclusive PPE follows the launch of CIOB’s #PPEthatfits campaign
The Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) has announced a new requirement which mandates the provision of women’s PPE.
The policy covers all CCS annual registered sites across the UK.
The change follows work the CCS undertook in 2022 in collaboration with quantity surveyor and equality advocate Sinéad Clarkson with regards to the availability of female sanitary products and gender inclusive PPE on construction sites.
At the time, the CCS rejected changes to the Code of Considerate Practice relating to female PPE as the organisation determined that there were sufficient legislative protections in place.
Philip Sayer, head of assurance and challenge at the CCS, said: “The Considerate Constructors Scheme is committed to improving inclusivity and diversity in the construction industry and helping to address its skills gap.
“Improving access for women in the industry is integral to this, and we are delighted to play our part by promoting the provision of female specific PPE on sites that sign-up to our Code of Considerate Practice.”
The CCS’s Code of Considerate Practice is subject to routine monitoring by a national team of monitors.
Constructors who register with the CCS receive an on-site visit, typically every six months, and are scored against the Code. Non-conformance with the Code’s requirements lowers published performance scores.
According to the CCS Monitor Checklist 2024, which highlights specific areas that monitors should consider when reviewing conformance, sites must provide “appropriate, well maintained administrative controls – machine guarding, PPE (suitable PPE available in a variety of styles/sizes [including female sizes])”.
While the checklist specifically references women’s PPE, the CCS is committed to ensuring workplace controls are maintained to a high standard to prevent harm to all construction workers.
Katy Robinson, senior project manager at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, who worked closely with the CCS to establish the new requirement, said: “It is fantastic that the Considerate Constructors Scheme has mandated the provision of women’s personal protective equipment on all of their registered activities.
“I am certain that this move will encourage companies and even other accreditations to implement this change across the construction industry, and beyond.”
Robinson, who is also a campaign manager for NAWIC Yorkshire, added: “Even though well-fitting personal protective equipment should not be seen as best practice, it should be the minimum standard, this move from the Considerate Constructors Scheme is a big step in the right direction.”
CIOB’s #PPEthatfits campaign was launched last year, calling for better provision of inclusive PPE.
The initiative aims to address widespread inequalities in PPE across the industry, as well as highlighting the experiences of construction professionals.
CIOB president Sandi Rhys-Jones said: “When the decision was taken in the summer of 2023 to hold a workshop to exchange experience and knowledge around provision of properly fitting PPE, none of us in the CIOB Working Group expected the topic to take off in the way it did.
“It has been truly eye-opening to identify the scale of the need, and to see an ever-expanding network of committed individuals and companies, here and around the world.
“The commitment from Considerate Constructors to support mandatory provision is a wonderful example of how collaborative working, supported by facts, can result in practical outcomes that will benefit the sector as a whole.”