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PPE: Looking at the Trends

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Safety+Health Magazine – PPE is the first step to ensuring worker safety. But with uncomfortable and sometimes outdated gear, simply putting the PPE on can be a challenge. Safety+Health interviewed the manufacturers to discover the top trends in PPE style and technology, shedding light on ways to improve worker safety simply through the materials they wear.

1. Material – The number one request from workers is for more comfortable gear. Technology has reached a point where comfort does not have to be sacrificed for safety. Many are wearing products that are heavier than necessary because most perceive a heavier material as more protective, but this is not necessarily true.

“With advances in technology and focus on smart designs, workers now have choices of products that not only protect them but they can feel good wearing… having PPE that workers actually want to wear drives compliance – further reducing risk of injury”

The material not only improves comfort, but productivity. Heavy, thick material hampers the dexterity of the employee and is possible motivation to abandon the gear in favor of efficiency. This is especially true in regards to gloves. Material is at the forefront of the PPE trends, guiding innovation to improve comfort while maximizing protection.

2. Safety Eyewear – When it comes to eye protection, most people think of protection from projectiles flying directly towards the eyes. However, there is a different kind of danger. Microscopic air-borne debris such as dust can cause significant trauma to your eyes. By including foam fronts to secure a seal around the eye cavity, the eyewear can protect the individual from these microscopic threats.

“Recent advances in anti-fog technologies ensure wearer comfort and effectively remove fogging – the most common reason some workers have been reluctant to wear foam-sealed protective eyewear”

Customization of frames are also on trend including custom sizes, temple flexibility, bifocal safety lenses, and even unique frame color. The goal is simply to create comfort without losing safety and protection, increasing the likelihood that workers will put on their PPE and feel good while on the job site.

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