Personal Protective Equipment

Businesses Create Interactive Protective Equipment

Two Minnesota-based companies are working to help safety professionals predict and prevent possible job hazards. Safety gear maker Ergodyne and platform developer Corvex Connected Safety are connecting smart personal protective equipment (PPE) to a platform that shares real-time data, insights, and safety risk concerns from and with workers connected to the gear.

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Ergodyne president and CEO Tom Votel says the business has been working over the past three years to explore ways to take their products to the next level—from inert, to intelligent, to connected. “We see it as the next logical step in our somewhat utopian-sounding, but very real mission of driving toward zero workplace injuries.” Ted Smith, who leads Corvex, notes that advancements in sensor technologies have permitted access to data at the worker level. “Safety happens in real time, and the data we use to prevent injuries should also be the same,” Smith added.

While the initiative is in the early stages, the partners say they are working diligently to build connected, intelligent safety solutions that are grounded in real-world applications.

The development of interactive PPE is being pioneered at businesses like Ergodyne and Corvex, as well as at universities and research centers. At the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute for example, researchers are at work on a carbon-monoxide sensor in a worker’s hard hat that can continuously measure the CO level in the worker’s blood and alert the individual of unsafe levels.