What's Up in PPE? More Fit Testing

An offering on display during this week's Safety 2012 conference brings the concept of fit testing to yet another PPE category.

DENVER –- ASSE's annual conference is a great place to find out what's happening in PPE, and this year's Safety 2012 event was no exception. The expo set a new record for this century-old conference with 504 exhibitors filling more than 80,000 square feet inside the Colorado Convention Center, and many were showcasing new PPE innovations.

Two executives at Elvex, Rick Sustello and Ted Cowie, had new protective eyewear on display and said they'll soon introduce a patented eyewear product with reflective material on the arms of the glasses. 3M OH&ESD introduced the H-700 series hard hat bearing a Uvicator™ Sensor, which will change color from red to white as the hard hat is exposed to UV light, indicating to the wearer and his/her safety manager that it's time to replace the hard hat. Honeywell Safety Products managers discussed the IQ Management System, using networkable docks and system software to give managers full visibility into customized gas detector data, including alarms and gas exposure levels; other products from the company include the new North Compact Air® 200 Series powered air-purifying respirator. Werner Co. showed its new line of fall protection gear -– harnesses, lanyards, anchors, roofing kits, and construction/maintenance kits. Tanked emergency showers and a mobile emergency eyewash system (it can be towed to remote sites, such as natural gas well sites) were displayed by Alpine Technical Services, a first-time exhibitor at this event, and partner Showers and Eyebaths Services Ltd. of Rainford, England. Energizer introduced an intrinsically safe LED headlight, the MSHD31, that is Class I, Division I rated and approved by MSHA. It can be worn on the head or fits over a hard hat.

One of the 3M offerings is a continuation of the trend in expanding fit testing of PPE beyond respiratory protection and hearing protection. Called Total Eyewear Solutions, it is a program covering both prescription and non-prescription eyewear. The program features on-site professional fitting services by a qualified optician to help managers and workers choose the right 3M eyewear for their applications and ensure a correct fit. 3M officials said this will help to prevent injuries because 40 percent of eye injuries involve workers who were wearing some type of vision protection at the time –- so either they wore the wrong type of protection or wore it incorrectly.

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