Smart PPE, also called smart wearable systems, is personal protective equipment that connects to other devices via Bluetooth with the purpose of delivering real-time safety information to create a safer, more efficient work experience. In addition to many other features, wearable systems can detect danger in the worker’s environment as well as notify a supervisor if a worker is in trouble.
Current PPE Technology
The mining industry is currently using location devices to keep tabs on miners. New mining smart helmets are being developed that will allow others to communicate with the miners and virtually see what they see. Gas masks with thermal cameras that use heat rather than light are enabling firefighters to see through smoke. Although thermal cameras are not new, the integration of the camera into the mask gives firefighters new hands-free technology to keep them and those they protect safe.
Fatigue monitors also use technology to determine levels of worker fatigue on the job. This protects workers from drowsy driving and other workplace accidents related to exhaustion. However, the future of smart PPE looks even more promising as increasingly sophisticated wearable systems are projected to hit the market soon. For example, environmental monitoring garments will be able to regulate body temperature and detect hazards, such as gasses, toxins, and UV exposure.
Smart PPE Pros and Cons
Smart PPE can provide a company with real-time data collection, which can be analyzed to identify potential hazards before they lead to accidents or workplace injuries. This ultimately provides companies with:
- Reduced operating costs
- Reduced employee injury claims
- Safer work environments
- Improved worker productivity
Although Smart PPE seems to be an invaluable resource for both workers and their employers, there are some drawbacks that may prevent it from becoming the norm. First, the cost may be prohibitive for smaller companies. Additionally, there are no regulations set in place regarding performance standards. This could mean companies will have to purchase backup equipment in case a system fails.
Couple these issues with the learning curve that new technology always brings, and the risks may currently be too high to ask workers to depend on these new devices to protect their lives. However, as this innovative field continues to make progress, the hope is that performance standards will be established, and training programs will be available to educate employers and their workers on the enormous benefits of Smart PPE.
Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Advocate for the Rights of Injured Workers
If you have been injured on the job, you may be entitled to compensation. At Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A., a dedicated and experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyer can answer your questions, assist with filing a Workers’ Compensation claim, and handle other Worker’s Compensation-related matters. To learn more about your legal options, call us today at 866-881-8623-3600 to schedule your free initial consultation or submit an online inquiry form.
We represent clients in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.