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June 27, 2017

Trends in Personal Protective Equipment

Properly working and fitting personal protective equipment is critically important for workers, even if it’s meant to be used as the last line of defense. Safety+Health, with help from the International Safety Equipment Association, recently asked PPE manufacturers three questions: What PPE trends are happening now, what challenges are your customers reaching out to you with, and what technological innovations are here or on the horizon?

Here are their responses:

1. What recent PPE trends have you observed?

“The most important factor is still choosing the right PPE for the job. An ongoing problem across all industries is that too many injury victims were not wearing the PPE supplied by their employer. The vast majority of reasons why people don’t wear PPE can, however, be easily addressed through good product design, the right materials, matching PPE to technical job specifications and informed purchasing decisions. Those designing, producing and purchasing PPE need to understand employees’ needs in terms of comfort and well-being, but also the demands of the job and the degree and nature of the hazards faced. One size does not fit all, and worker engagement and involvement during product development is critical.”

– Norman Keane, glove program manager, D3O, Croydon, UK

“As manufacturers attempt to help reduce accidents between pedestrians and powered industrial trucks, I have seen a trend of increased use of high-visibility clothing inside the factory. While a safety vest is often the first garment considered, safety professionals may also consider garments that integrate high-visibility materials into work uniforms, such as high-visibility T-shirts and rental laundry work shirts. These garments can help reduce entanglement issues sometimes experienced with vests. While an ANSI/ISEA 107 Type R, Class 2 is the most commonly observed, safety professionals may also consider garments meetings the new ANSI/ISEA 107-2015, Type O for off-road use.”

– Shari Franklin Smith, senior technical service specialist – safety and health for food, beverage, agriculture and petrochemicals, 3M Personal Safety Division, 3M, St. Paul, MN

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