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Becoming smart about the safety of your workers

30 September 2019

HazardEx announces that sister title Connectivity – a leading Industry 4.0/IoT online information resource – is sponsoring the annual HazardEx International Conference and Exhibition, co-located with PPTex, on February 26-27 at the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate.

For nearly 20 years, HazardEx has been providing key industry information and topical discussion on process safety-related topics. The annual Conference and Exhibition brings together those with hazardous area and wider safety responsibilities to review best practice and the latest research in those areas key to managing process safety effectively.

Last year saw the launch of PPTex, a quarterly print and digital supplement to HazardEx magazine and an annual Exhibition and Conference that ran concurrently with the HazardEx Event.

PPTex serves those individuals and companies where personnel are at risk in their working environment, typically in industries such as Oil & Gas, Chemical, Pharmaceutical, Energy, Utilities, Food & Beverage, Transport, Manufacturing and Distribution. Like Hazardex, PPTex focuses mainly on hazardous area environments where there is explosion risk, but will also cover other major hazards in the workspace

Next year the HazardEx International Conference and Exhibition, again co-located with PPTex, will take place on February 26-27 at the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate, north-eastern England, an elegant North Yorkshire spa town.

The main focus of the two-day event is the conference, with 2020 hosting a Personal Protection Technology focused content channel alongside the main Hazardous Area Operations and Process Safety conference. 

Wearable technology is the most exciting development in personal protective equipment (PPE) for many years. It offers the prospect of huge benefits to workers worldwide by enhancing existing safety functions.

Driven by the constant quest for improved workplace safety solutions, smart, or ‘intelligent’, PPE, with digital technologies, applications, solutions and smart sensors worn close to the body, is rapidly being developed by manufacturers and adopted by employers.

What is smart PPE?

Image: Tractica
Image: Tractica

Wearable digital technology, also known as Personnel Protection Technologies (PPT), can be defined as clothing and PPE enhanced with built-in intelligent electronic devices that advance workplace safety from head to toe and unlock unprecedented opportunities to protect people. 

Vulnerable areas of the body are equipped with sensors and actuators which, when interconnected, react, interact and communicate with the wearer, imparting increased safety, protection and comfort. 

This type of “Internet of Things” (IoT) technology is being increasingly used to improve safety in industries such as Oil & Gas, Mining, Manufacturing and Transport where workers may be exposed to multiple risks at a time. In such circumstances, workers and operators need multifunctional protective clothing and technologies that protect them from various hazards. 

Nigel Day of uvex Safety UK wrote an article for HazardEx and detailed some of the new products coming onto the market. These range from smart safety eyewear with an in-built display which alerts the wearer to hazards, smart helmets with detectors that warn the user if they get too close to potentially hazardous equipment, smart safety gloves with integrated near-field communication (NFC) chips to enable access to phones/tablets and smart safety shoes containing chips that can detect and evaluate hazardous situations.

The future belongs to wearable technology. The prediction is that more than 75 million wearable devices are to be deployed in enterprise and industrial environments by 2020 (Figure 1).

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