Approaching Industrial Safety From All Angles 6421df30a6cf8

Approaching industrial safety from all angles

March 27, 2023
Sheila Kennedy says worker protection and regulatory compliance are paramount.

Prioritizing workforce safety and health is an industrial management essential. Personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety tools and systems are becoming more targeted, effective, and user friendly. The new innovations are paving the way for improved programs and outcomes.

Apparel and wearables

Tradeswomen wearing PPE garments designed for men’s bodies tend to find them ill-fitting, uncomfortable, and thus unsafe. Dovetail Workwear engineers its silhouettes from the ground up to fit women’s shapes and sizes. Its new flame-resistant (FR) workpants provide the right fit, comfort, and performance for women who work where electric arc and flash fire risks are present.

Besides meeting vital safety standards, durability and functionality are built in. Sara DeLuca, co-founder of Dovetail Workwear, asks: “Why would we not give her a full set of 11 nested pockets for her tools? Why would we not reinforce the thigh and knee for the days she's on cement or gravel and provide a slot for knee pads? Why would we not reinforce the back cuff for those long days in work boots?” 

New ANSI Type 2 safety hard hats such as the SKH-1 from Studson are becoming available for plant environments. Traditional Type 1 helmets are rated to protect against objects falling from above, whereas Type 2 helmets protect all sides of the head, including impacts from falls, trips, slips, and falling objects. 

Helmets like the Studson SHK-1 typically have a reinforced crown area and a thicker shell, providing superior protection than Type 1 helmets but with a more comfortable, ergonomic design, says Ryan Barnes, founder and CEO of Studson. “Additionally, these helmets come equipped with a foam liner or other more innovative materials that help absorb shock and distribute the impact of blows, falls, and angled impacts, reducing the chances of injury to the head and neck,” he adds.

The new WORKSKIN Warm Weather Hard Hat Liner from Milwaukee Tool is designed for use with hard hats and safety helmets to enhance comfort in warmer conditions. It is constructed with a four-way stretch fabric and flatlock seams, a method of stitching that minimizes seam bulk and irritation. Anti-microbial technology and moisture-wicking layers prevent odor-causing bacteria. 

“The liner has performance fabric engineered to be breathable and wick moisture away from the body, drying quickly and keeping users cool while working,” explains Wesley Thomas, product manager at Milwaukee Tool. 

An innovation in PPE for hearing is the new MobiWAN from Mobilus Labs. It uses bone conduction to enable clear, two-way voice communication in noisy and windy industrial environments while full hearing protection is worn. Mobilus certified it for use in hazardous areas, and Chevron has been testing the technology. 

MobiWAN attaches to the back of a hard hat, rests against the worker’s head, and connects wirelessly to their smartphone or other device with Bluetooth functionality. When the worker takes a call, instead of hearing sound through their ears, MobiWAN sends the sound waves through the bones in their head and directly into their inner ear. When the worker speaks, vibrations come up through their jaw and skull to MobiWAN’s microphone and back out to the Bluetooth device. 

Sensible solutions

Rugged voltage testers enhance electrical safety. The NCVT1XT from Klein Tools was specifically designed with durability as a primary goal. It provides non-contact detection of 70 to 1000V AC voltage in cables, cords, circuit breakers, switches, and more, and delivers audible and visual indicators upon detection.

“More so than previous models, the NCVT1XT Voltage Tester was built with the industrial space in mind,” says Sean O’Flaherty, vice president of product management at Klein Tools. “The IP67 rating means it is both dustproof and waterproof, and the 9.8-foot (3-meter) drop protection means this tester can stand up to the harsh conditions that industrial spaces can often present, and that other testers cannot.”

Workplace safety software simplifies program management and compliance. The new Safety Data Sheet (SDS) Manager from KPA provides a configurable tool to help ensure necessary SDSs are readily available and current.

SDS Manager provides “easy access to a comprehensive library of SDSs and does so within a highly integrated EHS software platform,” observes Jade Brainard, product director at KPA. “EHS managers have long desired a streamlined SDS software management tool that is easily and inexpensively customizable, decreases response time (in) finding an SDS related to an employee incident, and ultimately lowers the cost of ownership.”

About the Author

Sheila Kennedy | CMRP

Sheila Kennedy, CMRP, is a professional freelance writer specializing in industrial and technical topics. She established Additive Communications in 2003 to serve software, technology, and service providers in industries such as manufacturing and utilities, and became a contributing editor and Technology Toolbox columnist for Plant Services in 2004. Prior to Additive Communications, she had 11 years of experience implementing industrial information systems. Kennedy earned her B.S. at Purdue University and her MBA at the University of Phoenix. She can be reached at [email protected] or

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