Sisi Takes Another Step For Women’s Safety

Sisi Takes Another Step For Women’s Safety

Local manufacturer, Sisi Safety Wear, adds an economical chukka boot to their current range, as well as two new steel midsole variants, in response to product gaps in the local female safety footwear market. Sisi Safety Wear – a market-leading female safety brand within the BBF Safety Group stable–recently launched a steel midsole variant in two of their leading shoes and boots, as well as introduced an affordable split-leather safety boot option, in yet another move that addresses the gaps in the choice of local safety footwear available to women. The popular Sisi Cate and Nicole safety footwear, that customers have come to trust for its quality, durability and comfort, will now be available in a steel midsole variant, says Vanessa Ronald, Senior Brand Manager for Sisi. The company is also unveiling Yvonne, Sisi’s first split-leather chukka boot, an economical solution targeted at contract workers and those on a budget. “The new product offerings were inspired by the fact that a lot of women in industry are still wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) designed for men, as manufacturers have been slow to accommodate the specific needs of women. This has further compounded when it comes to local manufacturing solutions,” Ronald explains. Despite certain environment specifications requiring a steel midsole, there is currently no female-specific safety footwear product locally manufactured that meets this specification and not many options available internationally either. As a result, women requiring these levels of protection have had no choice but to purchase ill-fitting male footwear to ensure their safety. “This often causes discomfort, which leads to a loss of productivity, and can even result in...
Our Final Featured BBF Superwomen

Our Final Featured BBF Superwomen

Our Final Featured BBF Superwomen | #SalutingIndustrySuperwomen Behind BBF Safety Group is a team of strong, talented, ambitious woman driving our business. Over the past three weeks, we’ve been finding out more about their journeys to where they are today, the challenges they’ve overcome and why they remain fiercely committed to the safety industry. Here are the final four featured formidable ladies of BBF Safety Group: Thulie Khumalo- Making Supervisor What has been the highlight of your career journey? Being a Supervisor. I enjoy dealing with people and the communication with employees. As a supervisor, I need to make sure my communication is always strong and open to be trusted by the team. What are some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced, being a women in a male-dominated industry? As a mother, I feel concern when someone is struggling emotionally and things aren’t going well for them. So, I often find myself taking on a ‘social worker’ role when I see that employees are not performing and ask them questions and listen to their problems. This can be tough emotionally, but I care about the people I work with. How have you overcome these challenges? I trust God, which helps me overcome any challenges. I don’t let challenges stand in the way of my work. – I stick to my goals. Why are you so committed to the industry, despite these challenges? I believe in myself and what I can do, even though the industry is tough. I believe in sticking to your goals – no industry is easy, there will always be challenges. Why do you think it’s...
This Week’s Resilient Superwomen

This Week’s Resilient Superwomen

This Week’s Resilient Superwomen | #SalutingIndustrySuperwomen For more than a decade, Sisi has been supporting and celebrating women in industry by designing safety wear that caters to their specific needs. This Women’s Month, Sisi has been celebrating the women in our own business who play a significant role in keeping people safe at work. Here are another 4 of the remarkable women of BBF Safety Group, sharing their journeys and challenges faced in the industry. Verna Lavens – Senior Supervisor What has been the highlight of your career journey? Becoming a Team Leader was a great highlight for me. Then, a year later, I was made Supervisor, followed by Senior Supervisor. I’m very proud of these accomplishments. What are some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced, being a women in a male-dominated industry? I have experienced being undermined as a woman. Men often treat women as though they don’t have the skills or knowledge for certain roles. How have you overcome these challenges? I have always believed in myself. I don’t let anyone let me think less of myself and I don’t feel intimidated by men. Why are you so committed to the industry, despite these challenges? I love my work. I love being with people – helping and motivating them. Why do you think it’s important for more women to be part of this industry? To empower themselves. And to empower all women. I think it’s important for women to set an example to help shift the mindset of women – to not think any less of themselves because of the actions of others. Woman power! What message...
#SalutingIndustrySuperwomen | Week 2

#SalutingIndustrySuperwomen | Week 2

In case you missed last week’s post, this Women’s Month, we’re celebrating and saluting the formidable women within the BBF Safety Group who help shape and contribute to the safety industry.  They opened up about the challenges they’ve faced in a male-dominated industry and how they’ve overcome them. Here are this week’s featured BBF Safety Group Superwomen: Sharonessa Kemp- Senior Supervisor What has been the highlight of your career journey? Being promoted to a Senior Supervisor. What are some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced, being a women in a male-dominated industry? My greatest challenges have been overall inequality and a lack of acceptance. How have you overcome these challenges? I had to work twice as hard to gain respect and feel like part of the team amongst men. Why are you so committed to the industry, despite these challenges? I’ve been in the industry for almost 25 years and have grown such a deep passion for every aspect of my work. That is what drives my commitment. Why do you think it’s important for more women to be part of this industry? I think women have been so influenced by media and opinion and as a result, often think that big, important job titles are only for men. We must change our mindset, set bigger goals for ourselves and go for them – any women can achieve anything in life. What message do you have for other women facing challenges and obstacles in their career journeys? Believe in what you want so much that it doesn’t have a choice but to materialise.   Virginia Qobo – Production Coordinator...
Sisi Salutes Industry Superwomen

Sisi Salutes Industry Superwomen

For more than a decade, Sisi has been proudly servicing the workplace safety needs of female workers. As one of BBF Safety Group’s market-leading brands, Sisi supports the right of women in industry to safety wear that’s designed specifically to suit the needs of the female anatomy, as opposed to that of their male counterparts. The Sisi range of safety footwear, workwear and most recently, fall-arrest systems, gives women the freedom to work with the comfort and dignity that they deserve, allowing them to focus on the task at hand by eliminating distractions caused through ill-fitting PPE. Industry women have spoken and Sisi has heard them. This Women’s Month, Sisi celebrates the formidable women within the BBF Safety Group who make a remarkable contribution to the business and the manufacturing industry at large. Each week this month, we’ll be featuring several of these women who opened up to us about their journeys to where they are today, the challenges they’ve overcome and why they remain fiercely committed to the safety industry. Here are this week’s featured BBF Safety Group Superwomen: Wendy Vaaltyn – Production Supervisor What has been the highlight of your career journey? Having the opportunity to work for and grow with the business for 25 years has been an amazing experience. I have felt such appreciation from the company for my potential, ability and loyalty. What are some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced, being a women in a male-dominated industry? Shifting the mindset of some employees around female women in the industry – especially in leadership – has been my greatest challenge. How have you overcome...
Sisi unveils Fall Arrest System for women

Sisi unveils Fall Arrest System for women

Extending its commitment and support to women in industry, Sisi unveils a new product range – fall arrest systems for women working at heights. Sisi Safety Wear has taken yet another step in its effort to support women working in industry by unveiling a range of fall arrest systems (harnesses with permanently attached lanyards), specifically designed for women who work at heights. “This is a very exciting move for Sisi, which once again underscores our commitment to women who work in traditionally-male dominated industry sectors. We believe that women should have access to Personal Protective Equipment that has been designed to fit the female anatomy and not that of their male counterparts,” says Vanessa Ronald, Senior Brand Manager at Sisi. The leading local manufacturer of women’s PPE has unveiled five different harnesses in its Core and Core+ Ranges, adding to the already trusted line of Sisi-branded protective clothing and footwear designed for women. The Core Range offers three standard harnesses with permanently attached, single- or double-leg shock absorbing lanyards, with snap or scaffolding hooks, while the Core+ Range includes two belted harnesses with permanently attached, double-leg, shock absorbing lanyards with snap or scaffolding hooks and adjustable shoulder straps. Sisi Fall Arrest Specialist, Ruaan Breedt, explains that what is especially unique about the Sisi Fall Arrest range, is its consideration of the female form through the development of its adjustable and elasticated chest strap. For women, the risk of injury does not stop when the fall does. If placed below the bust area, polyester webbing (typically found in men’s harnesses) can rise aggressively up and over the bust at the...
Sisi teams up with the Stellenbosch Municipality and the Department of Education

Sisi teams up with the Stellenbosch Municipality and the Department of Education

Sisi Safety Wear and the Stellenbosch Municipality provided much-needed sanitary products to underprivileged girls, who often miss school during their periods. In commemoration of Youth Month, Sisi, a safety wear brand for women within the BBF Safety Group, has partnered with the Stellenbosch Municipality and the Department of Education to donate reusable sanitary pads to 427 girls, across seven schools, in the greater Stellenbosch area. The brand, which has brought much needed awareness around the differences between the anatomy of men and women and the need for gender specific personal protective equipment in the workforce, to improve productivity and comfort to working women, wanted to address the issues surrounding absenteeism of young girls from school due to the unaffordability of sanitary hygiene products when menstruating. According to a study by the Stellenbosch University’s Law Clinic,  about 30% of girls in South Africa miss  school when they are menstruating, because they cannot afford sanitary products.  As such, a girl could lose about 90 days of schooling a year, due to issues relating to menstruation. Many can’t catch up on vital schoolwork, ruining their end-year results, and their chances to earn grades that would qualify them for tertiary education.  “This is such an exciting project. It’s not just about donating sanitary pads to these girls; it’s about giving them a future. As a rising number of working women enter into areas once deemed the preserve of men, it is important that girls receive a solid education that sets them up to receive a tertiary education in the fields of commerce and sciences,” says Vanessa Ronald, Senior Brand Manager at Sisi. Along...
Bova Unveils DCR Safety Footwear Range

Bova Unveils DCR Safety Footwear Range

Leading safety footwear manufacturer, Bova, show-cased their latest safety footwear offering, featuring innovative dual compound rubber (DCR) soling technology that will better address the specific safety needs of the extreme and demanding environments in which the products are intended for use. Peter Gerbrands, Group Marketing Manager at BBF Safety Group, which manufactures and distributes the Bova brand says, “Bova has earned a reputation for manufacturing safety footwear that is engineered for purpose rather than applying a one-size-fits all approach.” He explains that different personnel within the same industry often require very different levels of protection and, therefore, different specifications. Up until now, those working in extreme and hazardous conditions, relied on footwear comprising either a single density Vulcanised Rubber sole, Nitrile Rubber sole or a dual density Polyurethane/Rubber (Pu/Rubber) sole. While single density Rubber soles provide the wearer with the necessary protection in these harsh conditions, they cause discomfort due to their heavy nature and lack of a midsole. PU/Rubber soles have answered the demand for a lighter boot with improved comfort, through the inclusion of Polyurethane in the mid-sole, but this has simultaneously compromised the durability of the products in the face of extreme environments. Gerbrands adds, “The challenge for us, was to find a way to bring together the benefits offered by both these soling technologies, whilst eliminating their short-comings.” This resulted in the development of a new range of safety footwear that demonstrates our leadership in continous improvement and technological advancements. DCR is an innovative soling technology that utilises two different layers of rubber where the soles are directly injected onto the uppers for a superior...
Holistic Approach Needed To Close Mining Gender Gap

Holistic Approach Needed To Close Mining Gender Gap

The number of women working in the mining sector has increased significantly over the past 17 years, with the numbers growing from 11 400 in 2002 to over 53 100 today. This represents about 12% of the entire mining workforce of 464 667. However, an area that has lagged significantly in the facilitation of women’s entry into mining has been the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), designed specifically for women miners. This can largely be attributed to a general lack of awareness within the industry, with many still considering PPE for women as being more about adding a “feminine touch” rather than addressing the practicalities of workwear that is tailored to the female anatomy. A commonly observed trend is that many companies still procure male and/or unisex safety wear due to a lack of understanding that the anatomy of a women differs greatly to that of a man and, as a result, the PPE procured should reflect that. Comfort can have a profound effect on productivity, which means that ill-fitting PPE could seriously impact a wearer’s quality of work. A critical consideration is thus that ill-fitting safety footwear and workwear leads to several issues, which include discomfort and pain, lowered productivity, absenteeism due to health-related problems such as urinary infections and even a psychological barrier to the work environment. Industrial psychologist Uma Naidoo says if one is not comfortable in their attire, in which they spend about eight hours of the day, it could lead to frustration, poor concentration, increased breaks and many other debilitating effects on productivity. She says workers who are uncomfortable in their clothing, are not functioning at their best....
The practical problems of working women in working men’s clothing

The practical problems of working women in working men’s clothing

South Africa is seeing an increase in female workers in industrial environments as the traditional barriers of gender specific roles are being broken down.  However, from a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) perspective, women are still pigeon-holed with the expectation that they should wear either male or unisex PPE.  There is a fundamental difference in the size and shape between a woman and man’s body, often creating discomfort and even potential risk for women. Furthermore, what many businesses don’t realise is that ill-fitting PPE is impacting the productivity of the female workforce in the workplace.   The Hazards The basic concept of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is to protect the worker from the potential hazards in their working environment. When it comes to safety footwear, the hazards may include slipping, falling objects, corrosive chemicals and solvents, sharp protruding metals and shavings and anti-static charges just to name a few. PPE is supposed to protect a person from these dangers in the workplace. One Size Does Not Fit All If we look at a typical woman’s foot, the contours differ to that of a man’s in that the female foot is generally narrower. As such, a women’s size five shoe would need to be shaped differently to that of a man’s size five shoe, ensuring a comfortable and secure fit. A man’s shoe may fit a woman’s foot from the toe to the heel, however, it would typically be too wide in breadth. And as a result, her foot may oscillate within the shoe. Overtime, the oscillation puts strain on her ankle, which leads to strain on the knee and subsequently...