Where PPE meets the Internet of Things

There’s a comment in the A+A international trade fair and congress programme that we couldn’t agree with more.

“The use of new materials and of smart and innovative approaches enables solutions to be developed that substantially enhance safety and the protection of health,” it says.

We back that sentiment 100% because at Papertrail we are working hard to increase the penetration of such smart solutions in the market.

As we mention in a recent white paper, adding intelligence to personal protective equipment (PPE) systems can help improve safety not only by making it easier for asset owners to check on the status of equipment, but also by improving quality control.

“Smart PPE systems can be integrated with manufacturer inventory databases so equipment data can be imported seamlessly and easily,” the paper says.

“This integration allows equipment owners to create and maintain a ‘digital certificate of ownership’ that registers every significant point in the lifespan of an item, from purchase through to disposal.

“Such certificates could be invaluable in quality control, for example in helping prevent the sale of fake items or in giving reassurance to buyers of second-hand material.”

More widely, smart systems such as Papertrail represent a step towards a future where every PPE item can be tracked, queried and evaluated in real time, as part of the Internet of things.

It’s an evolution we are very excited to be a part of, and hope to discuss more widely at A+A in Düsseldorf, Germany, from October 17 to 20. See you there.

  • Visit Papertrail at A+A at the DMM (Hall 6/F40) and SingingRock (Hall 6/C48) stands.

Checking on your lone workers? What about their kit?

Looking after lone workers is a big responsibility. If you have an employee, such as a security guard or night watchman, who is on their own for long stretches of time then you need to make sure they can get help if they are in trouble.

This need has spawned a small technology industry addressing the fact that many lone workers, of which there are about 4 million in the UK alone, may not be able to able to use their mobile phones to call for help in the event of a problem.

In the UK, for example, SoloProtect supplies a device called the Identicom that provides personal safety features along with identity badge functionality for organisations such as the National Health Service.

If a health worker is in a potentially confrontational situation with no other staff around, by discretely pressing their identity card they can activate a hotline to an alarm receiving centre where an agent will record what is going on and send help if needed.

German firm LIV tec goes a step further with a gadget that will broadcast a user’s location if the bearer stops moving for a suspiciously long amount of time.

Such technologies can bring help to someone in trouble at a remote location, but they cannot prevent people from getting into trouble in the first place.

For that, you need to make sure that the equipment a worker is relying on does not cause an accident… and can be fully relied upon if it is needed.

An intruder alarm that fails to work, a fire door that will not open or a flare that will not ignite are all examples of equipment problems that can be challenging in any situation, but are potentially much worse when you have nobody around for backup.

And if you are equipping your lone workers with some form of alarm-giving device, you need to make sure the technology itself works whenever it is needed.

Thus the only way to really keep your lone workers as safe as possible is to make sure the items they may have to rely on are checked regularly, and any defects are logged in a way that is easy to see and assists with quick remediation.

Doing this is easy with a system such as Papertrail, which can help you schedule inspections at regular intervals and check that each inspection has been carried out. Don’t let your people leave without having it in place.

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