Female PPE Boosting Inclusivity at Centrica Energy Storage

Debbie Hamilton (photo courtesy of LinkedIn)

Safety and inclusion intersect considerably when it comes to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), with the right PPE enabling all individuals to work without harm to the best of their abilities.

That’s why Centrica Energy Storage (CES+) has introduced female PPE for its onshore and offshore operations.

The initiative aims to address the needs of female employees while promoting gender equality and empowerment – ultimately, creating a workplace where every individual can thrive.

Debbie Hamilton, Hydrocarbon Accounting Manager at CES+, said: “Providing women with suitable PPE is without a doubt the right thing to do!

“Properly fitted PPE ensures optimal safety while ill-fitting PPE can compromise protection and even pose hazards. Providing female PPE makes colleagues feel valued in the workplace rather than just having to make do and fit in.

“We are committed to creating an inclusive workspace for all our colleagues.”

Problems with PPE in the past
The new female PPE from supplier Mo and Co includes overalls, jackets, gloves and boots, all available in a range of sizes for women.

This is an important step forward for a traditionally male-dominated industry, where PPE was often designed with only male workers in mind.

Debbie explains: “Basic PPE has not been available in the correct sizes or fit for female workers in the past. This is firstly a safety issue because PPE needs to fit properly to ensure it offers the required protection and it shouldn’t cause an additional hazard of its own.

“For example, incorrectly fitting PPE could become a trapping hazard or make activities such as using ladders more awkward and hazardous.

“If properly fitting PPE isn’t provided to enable individuals to safely carry out their job, this can also impact how included they feel in the workplace and whether they see the energy industry as the right fit for them.”

The new PPE will solve these sorts of issues for the CES+ workforce, with Debbie adding: “All the reactions I’ve heard have been very positive and I’ve had some good conversations about the jackets. Previous jackets I’ve had have been far too long and made moving around or climbing ladders awkward and it’s great to finally have one which fits me properly!”

Creating an inclusive workplace
For an organisation like CES+, which prioritises the wellbeing of all employees as it strives for excellence in operations, investing in female PPE is a clear statement about its commitment to equality.

While showing that women already play an integral role in the business, the hope is this new initiative will also encourage more women to join the energy industry in the future.

Debbie adds: “CES+ is committed to creating a workplace that is inclusive for all and the introduction of female PPE is one part of this.

“We are also actively involved in attracting women and girls into the energy industry by working with initiatives such as WiME (Women into Manufacturing and Engineering) to promote engineering careers to school-age girls and working with the Forces Employment Charity to connect with women who have served in the armed forces.

“I’m proud to be part of an organisation that cares about inclusion and creates such a friendly and supportive place to work.”

A positive change for the future
And Debbie isn’t the only one, with the CES+ workforce embracing the new PPE.

Ingrid Rolland, Offshore Maintenance Supervisor, said: “The investment made in procuring female-specific PPE is one part of the CES+ commitment to support women to work offshore.

“Having access to PPE that fits and is comfortable is a real confidence booster, enables greater personal safety and makes me feel valued as an individual.”

The hope is that soon PPE designed to suit all workers will be the norm across the energy industry and other high-risk sectors. CES+ is pleased to be helping that drive for a more inclusive future.

Debbie ends: “I’m so pleased to see positive change on this and look forward to the time when it doesn’t need to be a talking point – where it is just normal and routine to have suitable PPE for every individual.”