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How digital technology is making safety smarter

GO DIGITAL OIL&GAS MIDDLE EAST

How digital technology is making safety smarter

A new forecast of the world’s personal protective equipment (PPE) market has identified sector growth potential in the Middle East over the next three years - Oil & Gas Middle East reports from Intersec show in Dubai.

Research and consulting group Grand View Research says the moderate sector growth through to 2022 will follow increasing regulation of workplace safety, an uptick in workforce safety awareness and expansion within the region’s oil & gas sector. And the report says the market will take a major leap forward in the type of PPE being adopted with wearable technology making significant inroads.

Workplace safety is no longer confined to filter masks, hard hats and reinforced boots and gloves – it is now going hi-tech. Such is the spread of the technological advancements in PPE that the sector has been given its own product ranking in the safety & health sector of next year’s Intersec show in Dubai. Intersec, which runs at the Dubai World Trade Centre from January 19-21, is the region’s exhibition and conference for security, safety and fire protection.

The Middle East market for security, safety, and fire protection is on track for double digit growth over the next four years, as regional governments and the private sector look for improved technologies to better protect assets, people, businesses, and borders. PPE will be in the vanguard of improved workforce protection and will be a key factor in the overall segment’s development.

Andreas Rex, Intersec’s show director

Industry-wide wearable technology is being hailed as the most exciting PPE development in recent years because of the huge safety benefits it brings to a workforce and the productivity hike it can deliver to businesses.

‘Smart PPE’, as it’s known, is digitally driven largely through sensors built into uniforms, operating close to the body. And it’s changing the entire approach to safety in the workplace environment.

Oil & Gas Middle East

When interconnected, the sensors can respond and communicate with the wearer pointing out hazards and preventative actions needed. Site managers can also track the location of their workers and be kept informed of whether they are protected and safe.

PPE has been shown to reduce accident and injury incidents resulting in increased safety and protection which cascades down into long-term cost savings and enhanced efficiency and productivity.

And the technology stretches from head-to-toe. Smart helmets use meta sensors to evaluate situations, providing information to supervisors while detectors can alert the user when they’re at risk. In smart safety eyewear, a lens display can again alert wearers to potential risks.

PPE manufacturers are also using near-field communication (NFC) chips in safety gloves to ensure workers are wearing the correct glove for a particularly hazardous zone. The chips can also be built into safety shoes to detect hazardous situations and warn wearers.

Another upside for businesses is that the tracking data obtained provides key insights for management to build into future strategies and planning. With Smart PPE, management can identify patterns or potential hazards which can be used to amend future working practices.

Smart PPE manufacturers are largely targeting the mining, oil and gas and industrial manufacturing sectors – three sectors of high strategic and economic importance to the Middle East and is why next year’s Intersec could turn into a veritable showcase of the latest in smart workwear.

PPE is likely to come up for significant examination in the Intersec Energy Industry Focus Day conference session which is devoted to new approaches to safety in the region’s oil and gas, petrochems and energy industries

Andreas Rex, Intersec’s show director

PPE will transform the region’s health and safety landscape and could be backed by regulatory compliance moves as technology continues to make itself felt on construction sites, in manufacturing plants, on oil rigs and throughout the remotest of energy generation stations.

PPE’s market prospects in a region which has openly declared its commitment to building ‘smart’ cities and societies would seem as vast as the vision of the Smart PPE developers.