Pregnancy has not stopped Mel Street from doing the job she loves.
A qualified electrician for more than five years, she joined AGL almost two years ago as an electrical operator and maintainer at the Eildon power station in Victoria.
After becoming pregnant, Mel found she could no longer fit into her regular uniform and had to wear larger shirts.
All this changed when AGL introduced maternity personal protective equipment (PPE) including maternity shirts and cargo pants for pregnant employees.
“There’s a big difference in comfort because the buttons on my old uniform were at full stretch,” said Mel.
“Having one shirt that will fit me for my entire pregnancy is less hassle than having to change sizes as my body continues to change, because I’m planning to work until I am 38 weeks pregnant.
“By being able to continue with my own daily routine I am able to maintain my level of fitness which is beneficial for me and the baby."
AGL introduced maternity PPE after an initial 18 month trial involving manufacturer She’s Empowered, AGL’s Health and Safety team and pregnant women across multiple assets.
Following a consultation and review process, maternity PPE is now available as standard issue for all pregnant women across AGL including women working in non-traditional roles, plant-based environments and all women visiting AGL sites where hi-visibility PPE is required.
The fire-retardant maternity PPE is compliant with Australian Standards.
AGL is committed to the health, safety and wellbeing of its employees and supports them remaining at work wherever medically suitable.
In-house occupational health specialists are available to work with employees and develop plans that are tailored to the specific needs of each employee and allow them to keep working safely during their pregnancy.
AGL mechanical engineer and Equality Network representative for Gas and Renewables, Hannah Spurgeon, said pregnant women had traditionally worn larger sized men’s PPE shirts and pants to accommodate their changing body shapes, which meant they had to appropriately address safety risks including the possibility of excess material becoming entangled in rotating equipment.
“The introduction of maternity PPE is tangible evidence of our commitment to building an inclusive culture and a diverse workforce that is representative of our customers and the communities in which we operate,” Hannah said.
“It’s encouraging to work for a company that acknowledges part of the process of improving gender equality in the workplace means recognising and addressing the differences between employees.
“The introduction of maternity and fire-retardant maternity PPE is a huge step forward in ensuring women are able to continue to perform non-traditional roles to the best of their ability.
“Until very recently fire-retardant maternity PPE was not available. For AGL to engage manufacturers to help fill this gap in the market is a huge step forward.
“This is not only helping us do better business, but it is the right thing to do because women make up 42 percent of our senior leadership roles and close to a third of our workforce but only about 10 percent of roles at our operational sites.”
AGL is committed to helping shape a sustainable energy future for Australia. We operate the country’s largest electricity generation portfolio, we’re its largest ASX-listed investor in renewable energy, and we have more than 3.6 million customer accounts. Proudly Australian, with more than 180 years of experience, we have a responsibility to provide sustainable, secure and affordable energy for our customers. Our aim is to prosper in a carbon-constrained world and build customer advocacy as our industry transforms. That’s why we have committed to exiting our coal-fired generation by 2050 and why we will continue to develop innovative solutions for our customers.