Safety First Means Safety Fits: A Mixed Methods Analysis of Gender and Personal Protective Equipment Feminist Hackathon
Keywords:Feminist Hackathon, personal protective equipment, diversity in the construction industry, mixed-methods
Contextualization: Our Safety VEST Hackathon was inspired by a student’s senior project, which explored the fit of safety vests for construction workers, discovering women were disproportionately impacted by improperly fitting personal protective equipment (PPE). Goals and Methods: A feminist hackathon event was hosted and analyzed to understand wearers’ problems (especially women’s problems) with construction safety vests. The means and methods used to ensure collaboration and input from participants following feminist design principles are discussed. The goal of the hackathon was to improve the fit of PPE for varying body types by gaining insights from industry workers to address the needs of the construction’s increasingly diverse workforce. During a two-day event, six teams redesigned vests, cut them apart, and constructed prototypes, which were then presented to industry workers and vest manufacturers for feedback. Faculty and student researchers took fieldnotes and interviewed (n=16) hackathon participants. Quantitative and qualitative data, including surveys, design reflection journals, and semi–structured interviews, were collected and analyzed to conceive new design and safety features for different body types and wearer needs. Results: Building on feminist interaction design principles, our paper presents the development, implementation, and results of a design process where users were invited to participate in revisioning the safety vest to better serve their needs for safety, comfort, fit, and function. Improvements to the redesigned vest included the creation of synching cords, hoods, water bladders, identification holder pockets, length, reflective material, pocket changes, and ergonomic features to support posture and redistribute weight and tools. Final Considerations: This study expands the field of research surrounding feminist hackathon design principles by including women in collaborative design processes to understand and improve the fit of safety vests for women on construction sites and address workplace inclusion and retention.
Acker, J. (1990). Hierarchies, jobs, bodies: A theory of gendered organizations. Gender & Society, 4(2), 139-158. https://doi.org/10.1177/089124390004002002
American National Standards Institute (ANSI). (2015). ANSI/ISEA 107-2015: American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel.
American National Standards Institute (ANSI). (2020). ANSI/ISEA 107-2020: American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel.
Bardzell, S. (2010). Feminist HCI: Taking stock and outlining an agenda for design. Proceedings of the SIGHCI Conference on Human Factors in Computer Systems, 1301-1310. https://doi.org/10.1145/1753326.1753521
Blumer, H. (1969). Symbolic Interactionism. University of California Press.
Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis. Sage.
Chau, C. W., & Gerber, E. M. (2023). On hackathons: A multidisciplinary literature review. CHI '23: Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 1-21. https://dl.acm.org/doi/pdf/10.1145/3544548.3581234.
Curtis, H. M., Meischke, H., Stover, B., Simcox, N. J., & Seixas, N. S. (2018). Gendered safety and health risks in the construction trades. Annals of Work Exposure and Health, 62(4), 404-415. https://doi.org/10.1093/annweh/wxy006
D’Ignazio, C., Hope, A., Metral, A., Brugh, W., Raymond, D., Michelson, B., Achituv, T., Zuckerman, E. (2016). Towards a feminist hackathon: The “make the breast pump not suck!” Hackathon. Journal of Peer Production, 8, 1-7. http://peerproduction.net/issues/issue-8-feminism-and-unhacking-2/peer-reviewed-papers/towards-a-feminist-hackathon-the-make-the-breast-pump-not-suck/
D’Ignazio, C., Michelson, R., Hope, A., Hoy, J., Roberts, J., & Krontiris, K. (2020). “The personal is political”: Hackathons as feminist consciousness raising. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, 4(CSCW2), 1–23. https://doi.org/10.1145/3415221
Emerson, R., Fritz, R., & Shaw, L. (1995). Writing ethnographic fieldnotes. University of Chicago Press.
Erickson, J. (1987). Women in the workplace. Professional Safety, 32(2), 30-37. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10281493/
Esterberg, K. (2002). Methods in social research. McGraw-Hill.
Flynn, M., Keller, B., & DeLaney, S. (2017). Promotion of alternative-sized personal protective equipment. Journal of Safety Research, 63, 43-46. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsr.2017.08.004
Galvez-Puentes, L. (2020). Fitting in: Analyzing the fit of safety vests in the construction industry [Unpublished manuscript]. California Polytechnic State University. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1547& context=cmsp.
Glaser, B. & Strausss, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory. Aldine.
Goldenhar, L. M., Swanson, N. G., Hurrell, Jr., J. J., Ruder, A., & Deddens, J. (1998). Stressors and adverse outcomes for female construction workers. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 3(1), 19-32.
Grzywacz, J., Quandt, S. A., Mills, T., Marin, A., Summers, P., Lang, W., Evia, C., & Arcury, T. A. (2012). Employer provision of personal protective equipment to Latino workers in North Carolina residential construction. New Solutions, 22(2), 175-190. https://doi.org.10.2190/NS.22.2.e.
Harper, D. (2002). Talking about pictures: A case for photo elicitation. Visual Studies, 17(1), 13-26. https://doi.org/10.1080/14725860220137345
Hope, A., D’Ignazio, C., Hoy, J., Michelson, R., Roberts, J., Krontiris, K., & Zuckerman, E. (2019). Hackathons as participatory design: Iterating feminist utopias. Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1145/3290605.3300291
Hsiao, H., Long, D., & Snyder, K. (2002). Anthropometric differences among occupational groups. Ergonomics, 45(2), 136-152. https://doi.org/10.1080/00140130110115372
Hsiao, H., Whitestone, J., & Kau, T.-Y. (2007). Evaluation of fall arrest harness sizing schemes. Human Factors, 49(3), 447-464. https://doi.org/10.1518/001872007X200094
Htun, M. (2019). Promoting diversity and inclusion through engagement: The ASPA 2018 hackathon. PS: Political Science & Politics, 52(4), 677-683. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1049096519000593
Kleinman, S. (2007). Feminist fieldwork analysis. Sage.
Kleinman, S. & Copp, M.A. (1993). Emotions and fieldwork. Sage.
Ivory Innovations. (2023, February 26). Hack-a-house. Ivory Innovations. https://ivoryinnovations.org/hackahouse
Menches, C. L., & Abraham, D. M. (2007). Women in construction: Tapping the untapped resource to meet future demands. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 133(9), 701-707. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9364(2007)133:9(701)
Onyebeke, L. C., Papazaharias, D. M., Freund, A., Dropkin, J., McCann, M., Sanchez, S. H., Hashim, D., Meyer, J. D., Lucchini, R. G., Zuckerman, N. C. (2016). Access to properly fitting personal protective equipment for female construction workers. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 59(11), 1032-1040. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajim.22624
Oo, B. L., & Lim, T. H. (2020). Women's accessibility to properly fitting personal protective clothing and equipment in the Australian construction industry. OOP Con. Series: Earth and Environmental Science, 1-7. IOP Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1088/1755-1315/498/1/012096
Richterich, A. (2019). Hacking events: Project development practices and technology use at hackathons. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 25(5-6), 1000-1026. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354856517709405
Sokolowski, S. L., Griffin, L., Wu, Y., McKinney, E., Morris, K., & Bettencourt, C. (2022). Examination of current U.S. female firefighting personal protective equipment sizing and fitting process challenges: An opportunity to improve safety. Fashion and Textiles, 9(40), 1-26. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40691-022-00314-8
Turner, M., Holdsworth, S., & Young, S. (2021). Resilience in a hostile workplace: The experiences of women onsite in construction. Construction Management and Economics, 38(10), 839-852. https://doi.org/10.1080/01446193.2021.1981958
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022a, January 20). Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey – 14. Employed persons in nonagricultural industries by age, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat14.htm
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022b, April 28). TED: The Economics Daily. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2022/a-look-at-workplace-deaths-injuries-and-illnesses-on-workers-memorial- day.htm#:~:text=In%202020%2C%204%2C764%20workers%20in,21.2%20percent%20of%20total%20deaths.
Virole, L., & Ricadat, E. (2022). Combining interviews and drawings: Methodological considerations. New Trends in Qualitative Research, 11, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.36367/ntqr.11.2022.e545
Wagner, H. E. (2018). Breaking through the concrete ceiling: tradeswomen in the United States tell their stories of struggle and success. Journal of Working-Class Studies, 3(1), 68-80. https://doi.org/10.13001/jwcs.v3i1.6119
Wagner, H., Kim, A. J., & Gordon, L. (2013). Relationship between personal protective equipment, self-efficacy, and job satisfaction of women in the building trades. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 139(10), 1-7. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)C0.1943-7862.0000739
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 New Trends in Qualitative Research
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.