Technology feature - smart personal protective equipment (PPE)
The safety and health field becomes more reliant on technology every year as innovations emerge. One concept that has changed the way employers address safety is smart personal protective equipment (PPE). Workers in numerous industries are provided PPE that acts as a barrier between them and a hazard. Some examples of PPE include wearing gloves while handling toxic chemicals, wearing a hard hat at a construction site to protect from falling debris, and using a respirator during paint spraying operations. Advances in technology have led to the creation of smart PPE that provides real-time information about a work environment using sensors and other detection devices.
The benefits of smart PPE include:
- Better protection for workers
- Improved efficiency
- Increased productivity
- Fewer injury-related costs
There are hundreds of options on the market when it comes to smart PPE, but some notable items are:
- Smart protective clothing with sensors that detect body temperature and fatigue levels to prevent illnesses
- Smart ear muffs that monitor noise levels in the area and alert personnel when their hearing health may be at risk
- Smart respirators that measure the concentration of airborne chemicals to ensure that workers are adequately protected
- Smart safety shoes with sensors that detect when a worker has fallen and notify personnel of the emergency
For more information on the use of personal protective equipment, visit OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/personalprotectiveequipment/.
By: Libby Burgher
Loss Control Associate
*Markel Specialty is a business division of Markel Service, Incorporated, the underwriting manager for the Markel affiliated insurance companies.