Setting trends in women’s workwear

SPOA Women in Plant group teams up with Leo Workwear to promote PPE especially designed for female workers.

The Women in Plant (WiP) group of the Scottish Plant Owners Association (SPOA) has teamed up with high-visibility workwear supplier Leo Workwear to promote suitable PPE and clothing for women in the plant industry.

Met with challenges in finding safety and high-visibility clothing that fit women well and was, therefore, safe to wear on worksites, the WiP group approached Leo Workwear, a company leading the field in the design and production of high-visibility female workwear, to help make safety clothing easily available for women working in the plant industry in Scotland. Leo Workwear has now provided a range of items carrying the logo of the Women in Plant group, with SPOA offering the clothing to women known to the Association ahead of ScotPlant where the full range was showcased.

DSC05178.jpgThe full Leo Workwear range is available to order through Highland Industrial Supplies with an exclusive WiP discount, email for details.

The range of clothing, which has been developed by an all-female team based upon many years of feedback and wearer trials, includes trousers, base layers and vests, and enables anyone to do their job safely regardless of gender, size or religion. Among the range are items for pregnant women, as well as items made from lighter, breathable materials for women going through the menopause, while modesty tunics were developed with safety in mind for those from certain religions.

Matt Higham, National Account Manager at Leo Workwear, explains: “Everyone should be able to do their job with the appropriate safety equipment, and suitable clothing and PPE is no different. In the past, it has simply not been profitable for providers to develop and manufacture PPE for women, who make up a smaller percentage of the workforce, but we think this is not right and women should be provided with appropriate clothing for the same price. That’s why we’ve worked with women to develop clothing that fits, is comfortable, functional and, importantly, helps keep them safe on site.”

DSC05167.jpgWith sustainability in mind, the clothing is made using recycled materials, resulting in a 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions.

Matt continues: “In the past, women on worksites have been forced to roll up men’s clothing in an attempt to get them to fit, in turn risking entanglement in machinery or reducing the visibility of the clothing. Through focus groups, we have refined and improved our products. For example, items need to stretch and fit well to enable functional movement; various lengths are available as leg length can vary significantly amongst women even if they wear the same size; and pockets need to be as big as they are on men’s clothing as they are carrying the same tools.

“Additionally, regulatory standards must be met for items such as high-visibility clothing. These standards set a minimum area of high visibility fabric on view on the wearer – something that may be more difficult on smaller sizes, so we can mix items such as tops and trousers to ensure the wear is compliant. Even coveralls have been developed and zip into two parts to make them easier for women. It’s all about identifying any issues women may face with the clothing and making life easier so they can get on with doing their job.”

Zaya McMillan-Grant.jpg

Commenting on the collaboration, Zaya McMillan-Grant from the SPOA’s Women in Plant group (pictured above), said: “It is fantastic that the industry is evolving and recognising that for PPE and clothing it isn’t a case of ‘one size fits all’. By working with Leo Workwear and wearing its clothing ourselves, we hope the Women in Plant group and those who took up this opportunity will be trailblazers for the industry in Scotland and encourage employers to reassess the PPE and clothing they provide for female employees. It is paramount that we keep all those working on sites safe, regardless of their gender.”

The women’s range of Leo Workwear PPE and clothing will be showcased at Highland Industrial Supplies open days in Inverness on the 6th and 7th of June.

Any employers or employees interested in the WiP range of workwear can find out more by emailing

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