Ever heard of the term, smart PPE? This refers to intelligent wearables that are capable of connecting to the internet and other devices, such as tablets, software, and the like to deliver real-time information.
The beautiful thing about PPE is that not only does it protect the workers from hazards, it also works great for collecting data, sending notifications, and adjusting both external and internal conditions.
What Does Smart PPE Do?
There’s a reason smart PPE is being widely used on the construction site. They’re almost everywhere! Safety vests, hard hats, goggles, machinery, traffic tools, you name it. That’s because with smart PPE the possibilities are endless.
Smart communication devices, such as face masks, helmets, and ear muffs work great in communication. Then, there are also capable and cooling elements that respond to body temperature to ensure that the wearer would always stay safe even when working in hazardous environment.
Active PPE, such as mast tagout/lockout, as well as laser, enabled emergency stop devices could prevent possible accidents and injuries. Additionally, light emitting garments, like a safety vest offers high visibility, especially while on the road. The environmental sensors embedded in clothing are capable of monitoring heat, gas, chemical, sound, UV impact, etc.
How PPE Works
Just like what has been mentioned earlier, most PPE devices are connected via Bluetooth. This connection enables the processing of real-time data. Though aside from that, PPE devices can also be related to an EHS software, and this makes data collection way easier.
Who’s Using These Devices
Several industries are already utilizing smart PPE, but it’s the construction industry that benefits from it the most. For example, intelligent location devices make it possible to determine the location of the worker. Then, the thermal cameras protect the workers when they’re working in a dangerous site. The fatigue monitors accurately detect if the worker is falling asleep, especially while driving.
Indeed, the application for smart PPE is definitely promising, but just like any other technology, there’s still a lot to learn.
Are There Any Downsides
Although smart PPE may seem flawless, there’s still a steep learning curve. For example, when a worker’s life solely depends on smart wearable devices, it’s essential for it to work each time properly. As of the moment, there aren’t any minimum requirements for device performance, and that’s why a backup is critical.
Let’s not forget the issue of keeping sensitive information secure, as well as the price of smart PPE. Right now, it’s still quite expensive that not all will be able to avail it. However, these shouldn’t put our hopes down. As technology becomes mainstream, we can expect that these issues would eventually get resolved.
The Future of Smart PPE
We can confidently say that the future of smart PPE is promising. Hearing protection, intelligent helmets, environmental monitoring garments, high visibility vests and so on. Whether or not smart PPE is widely adopted in the construction industry, one thing is for sure, it has helped the sector dramatically improve. The safety has been guaranteed, and overall efficiency has always been possible.
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