The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a government agency whose job it is to ensure that employees are working in safe environments and are properly protected. While OSHA standards shouldn’t be where you stop in protecting your company’s workers, they are a good benchmark for ensuring safety. And companies must comply with OSHA standards anyway, or they’re on the path to serious legal problems.
Why Is PPE So Important?
PPE is the first line of defense when it comes to bodily injury. Using the right protective equipment can mean the difference between serious injury and life or death. While you might mainly think about PPE as safety glasses and steel-toe boots, there are many other pieces of PPE that are important for people working in various industries.
The newest personal protective equipment (PPE) will allow companies to surpass standards put in place by OSHA and can greatly benefit companies and workers alike.
Trends to Look out for in 2019
Flame- and Chemical-Retardant Clothing
Flame- and chemical-retardant clothing will be some of the fastest-growing kinds of PPE. With the increase in on-site deaths that happen because of fire and chemicals, the need for protection is becoming widely acknowledged and fire departments are now partners with FR yarn manufacturers like us to maximize safety precautions and protect life. Additionally, more safety regulations will require upgrades to safety clothing.
We will also see a greater focus toward making gear that has protection against radiation and particulate matter built into it. Mechanical protective clothing, which is limited to wear for general use, and clean-room protective gear will be a big part of this market.
If you’ve ever put on PPE, you might have noticed it isn’t the most comfortable thing you’ve ever put on your body. From safety glasses that pinch around your ears or nose to steel-toe boots that hurt the sides of the feet, PPE can definitely use some help in the comfort department.
Safety doesn’t have to be compromised in order to get the comfort that workers deserve. If workers aren’t comfortable, it’s less likely for them to be able to perform their jobs as necessary. With new technological advancements, heavy doesn’t equal safer anymore. Being able to pay attention to your job instead of how heavy your clothes are will allow you to be a safer worker.
Respirators are another PPE piece that needs help in the comfort department. Before new technological developments, heavy respiratory equipment was required, even though it made it difficult to move. Companies are replacing their old and uncomfortable equipment with equipment that’s of lighter weight and is user-friendly.
Style and Compliance
While it might not seem like something that’s important for workers to be happy and healthy, style is a key part of PPE design. If a worker’s clothing looks terrible, it can affect his or her ability to work. Now with advancements, workers can choose products that look good and protect them as well. Both workers and employers are happy with the outcome.
Employers want safety solutions that focus on compliance, but they also understand that their workers need to be satisfied with the PPE that they wear. Employers understand workers are likelier to wear their PPE when there are customizations they can request. Whether it’s a size or a design they request, employers are happy to oblige in order to get their workers to use the equipment and stay compliant.
Smart PPE and Wearables
You didn’t think we would forget about the biggest trend we’re going to see in 2019, did you? Smart PPE and wearables are shaking up the industry and for a good reason. The amount of data that can be gathered and used to help increase worker safety is at an all-time high. Some companies are already beginning to use smart PPE and wearables in order to increase their worker’s safety.
Smart PPE can be connected to various systems through Bluetooth technology. This connection ability means that real-time information can be communicated from the device to the supervisor in case any problems occur. Being able to track employees’ health and safety for quick action in case of an accident through leveraging high tech yarns will help employers create a safe work environment.
Benefits of Smart PPE and Wearables
Smart PPE saves time while improving productivity through connection, live updating, and the ability to communicate remotely.
Sensors are another part of the equation and can automate processes that currently require someone to do the work manually. Instead of having to inspect containers every day, a smart app and sensors will be able to monitor these containers in order to see if there are any leaks or changes in temperature. If a leak is detected, the system will send an alert to the control room.
There’s also technology related to clothing. “Smart yarn” allows for safer clothing. Being able to keep workers from lacerations and other harmful events with clothing using smart yarn is a major game-changer.
In 2019, take notice of workplaces becoming safer and more compliant because of the innovations in the Smart PPE field. Senior management in manufacturing, military and sports are seeing many benefit of taking care of their teams with proper PPE and going above and beyond the call and requirements of OSHA.
For example, Tuff-N-Lite® clothing is lightweight, breathable armor, that looks like clothing you would normally wear. Over the last seven years, Tuff-N-lite® has changed the way consumers and workers look at safety clothing by providing apparel that is more than two times stronger than aramid fiber clothing while providing unparalleled safety, comfort and durability.