More than 300 properly-fitting fall-protection safety harnesses will be available to women at 21 construction firms through grants provided by Autodesk Construction Solutions and the Associated General Contractors of America, the software vendor and association have announced.

The $75,000 program, begun last November, accepted applications through January. The selected contractors employ a total of 22,000 people.

While 80% of firms report labor shortages, women make up only 3% of the craft workforce.

A more welcoming worksite includes appropriate bathroom facilities, accommodating pregnant workers and providing properly fitting protective equipment, Allison Scott, director at Autodesk Construction Solutions, said at the ConExpo equipment trade show on March 10.

In a press release, AGC's CEO Stephen E. Sandherr said the grants "will help equip hundreds of women with the kind of custom equipment and properly-fitting safety gear they need most.”

He noted that ill-fitting personal protective equipment can fail to prevent, and even contribute to, serious injury from falls.

According to Sandherr, the added safety improvements can be an incentive for women at a time when an estimated 80% of firms report shortages in qualified workers.

AGC is partnering with safety equipment manufacturers MSA and 3M to provide the safety harnesses.

“We strive to have an open conversation with our female employees around personal safety and what they require to do their jobs comfortably,” said Billy Naylor, McCarthy Buildings Cos. regional safety director. Properly fitting equipment for women "is an issue across the construction industry, and we are excited to ... begin implementing a solution."

Firms selected for harness grants are:

  • Hughes General Contractors (North Salt Lake, Utah)
  • Hurckman Mechanical Industries (Green Bay, Wis.)
  • Swalling General Contractors, LLC (Anchorage, Alaska)
  • Mid-Valley Commercial Construction (Salem, Ore.)
  • Wayne Electric, Inc. (Houston)
  • Christman Constructors, Inc. (CCI) (Lansing, Mich.)
  • Faith Technologies (Menasha, Wis.)
  • Thompson Electric Company (Sioux Falls, S.D.)
  • Newkirk Electric Associates, Inc. (Muskegon, Mich.)
  • Healy Tibbitts Builders, Inc. (Aiea, Hawaii)
  • Capital Electric Construction Co., Inc. (Kansas City)
  • Snyder Roofing of Oregon (Tigard, Ore.)
  • Elcon Corp. (Everett, Wash.)
  • W.S. Bellows Construction Corp. (Houston)
  • McGough Construction (Roseville, Minn.)
  • Tarlton Corp. (St. Louis)
  • McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. (Dallas)
  • Wanzek Construction, Inc. (Fargo, N.D.)
  • Med-Tex Services (Philadelphia, Penn.)
  • Rosendin Electric, Inc. (San Jose, Calif.)
  • Performance Contracting Inc. (Pasadena, Texas)