The internet of things has revolutionised the way we collect, analyse and use data. By harnessing data collected via the web, we can identify trends and patterns, highlight specific metrics and better understand human behaviour. The power of the web has permeated every facet of our lives with things like virtual cardless pay gates, biometric security access and even life-saving body implants becoming commonplace. The data collected by these devices ultimately helps us to live better, and today almost everything we interact with can be embedded with some kind of data tracking technology.

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How PPE Has Become Smarter

Personal protective equipment has become smarter, and with the ability to embed garments with data collecting and tracking devices as small as a grain of rice, we can know virtually anything about the garment. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips or tags are small devices encoded with digital data which is collected by an RFID reader using radio waves. RFID chips and tags are small, lightweight devices which makes them easy to embed into a garment even after manufacture. These devices are so small that they do not jeopardise the wearability and protective qualities of a garment, thereby ensuring the wearer remains comfortable and suitably protected from the risks they face.

PPE can be embedded with an RFID device that is coded with a message unique to the environment in which the wearer works. An ALU-SAFE® garment can be fitted with an RFID device that alerts the wearer as to whether he or she is not wearing the correct PPE for the hazards they may face in a specific area of a smelting plant. Placed in a garment, RFID devices can be coded with vital information which is sent to a recognised smart machine; for example, a garment ‘s RFID chip may be coded with specific laundry settings which are read and followed by a smart washing machine.

Smart PPE embedded with an RFID device enables the garment to be assigned its own unique identification code which has the ability to link to important information like a garment’s certification and specifications, or the date of issue. Being able to assign a unique ID to each and every garment can help a Procurement Manager get a clear understanding of the true value of the PPE, through being able to compare the capital outlay versus the age of the garment in order to ascertain an average annual cost. The ability to know whether a wearer is using the correct PPE is important in minimising the risk of accidents and injury. From a health and safety perspective, RFID devices allow HSE’s to know whether the correct garments are being worn by the assigned personnel.

Being able to track a garment can help an organisation’s procurement and HSE to better understand garment performance and make informed choices in future. SURVIVE-ARC® garments are permanently arc-rated for the life of the garment which means that the fabric retains its protective qualities irrespective of the number of launderings, provided the manufacturer’ guidelines are followed. The only time a SURVIVE-ARC® garment is not able to protect the wearer is when the garment is physically damaged for some reason. Harnessing smart technology to know more about garment performance will also help an organisation improve stock control, keeping an up-to-date inventory or identifying if a garment has gone missing.

Get Your Quality PPE from CHARNAUD® Today

Smart PPE aids in keeping the wearer as safe as possible given the hazards that they face on the job. In conjunction with the product specialists at CHARNAUD®, an organisation’s HSE can better understand how to harness this technology to improve safety in all respects. Keeping the wearer safe is the main goal for any organisation and RFID technology allows for better safety controls across the spectrum including proper garment care, early warning systems, and knowing the return on investment from your PPE.

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