AGC Teaming with Autodesk to Create Custom Fitting Safety Harnesses for Women

A "one size fits all" mentality risks the safety of women in the construction industry. The AGC is working to address that mentality.

Shutterstock/ Watchares Hansawek

Last week, the Associated General Contractors of America announced that they are working with software company Autodesk to supply custom fitting safety harnesses to women in the construction industry who work at heights. The program, which is funded by a grant from Autodesk, hopes to fund the purchasing of around 300 fall protection harnesses that are specifically made to fit women.

Women make up approximately ten percent of the construction labor force in the United States. The AGC hopes that by catering to the needs of women in the field through the creation of properly fitting, comfortable, and effective personal protective equipment they will be able to attract more women to a workforce that is currently facing a labor shortage.

“One of the most effective ways to successfully recruit more women into high-paying construction careers is to make sure firms are able to provide safety equipment that makes them even safer,” said Stephen Sandherr, CEO of the AGC. “We want to leverage these grants to encourage our member firms to provide a wider range of safety equipment and continue to expand the diversity of our workforce.”

The AGC and Autodesk are not the first major entity to take steps towards providing women working in the construction industry with better safety gear. Earlier this year, the Swedish company Skanska developed safety vests designed for women that were majorly informed by the suggestions of 25 women on their team.

“The construction industry agrees safety must be everyone’s priority, but we also need to recognize when safety needs aren’t being met for some workers. Technology is improving jobsite safety, but it’s not a silver bullet,” said Allison Scott, head of construction thought leadership at Autodesk. “Construction is – and will continue to be – a people-driven business. The industry needs more people, and women must feel safe and welcome on jobsites if we want them to choose a career in construction. Ultimately, when we address safety for women, we improve safety for everyone.”

Members of the AGC can apply here for grants that will go towards the purchasing of these fall protection harnesses sized for women. Applications run from now until January 10th, 2020, and the winners will be notified before the AGC’s annual convention in March 2020.