Wearing Our Pride: Flatiron Helps Develop the First North American Certified Class 3 Safety Vest for Women
“We have started a process that hopefully will be there forevermore.”
Flatiron Procurement Manager Zubin Taraporevala cannot contain his pride about something special he helped bring to fruition: the first class 3 safety vest for women in North America (certified in both the U.S. and Canada). The first units are on their way to Flatiron projects. They will go into service in early October.
The innovative products were a team effort between Procurement, Flatiron’s Diversity & Inclusion Growth Group (DIGG) and Safety. These groups jointly requested the vests from the manufacturer Radians, and gave feedback as the product was under development. Five female project staff tested the prototypes in the field, and gave feedback as well.
“This is about continuous improvement in safety. If you’re walking around in an ill-fitting vest and something on your vest gets caught while you’re on the project site, that’s obviously not safe,” Taraporevala explains.
Construction Engineer Manager and DIGG Chair Jamie Dodd also points out that the vest will help deliver the message that female employees are valuable. “This will be important to create a sense of belonging,” she says. “If the industry doesn’t provide safety apparel that fits certain people, those individuals feel like they don’t belong in the industry.”
Besides getting Radians to produce the PPE, the distributor Fastenal will keep a supply on hand for Flatiron’s future needs. Other companies will be able to purchase the vests as well to keep their own workers safe.
“This is something the industry has needed for decades,” says Dodd.
Taraporevala echoes that sentiment:“This is something that allows Flatiron to remain on the cutting edge in heavy construction.”