From Paper Trail to Smart Electrical PPE Management
By Alexandra Serban
July 03, 2020
With the advent of renewable energy innovations and 5G telecommunications, the energy and utility sector is relying on a growing number of engineers and technicians. Each of them needs to don proper electrical safety PPE, which can put a strain on budgets, as well as administrative resources. One opportunity for cost savings is through optimizing PPE inventory.
Where current PPE management approaches fall short
The ability to track the status of PPE quickly and easily is key to maintaining safe operations. Any breakdowns in equipment compliance tracking endanger workers’ lives, cause downtime and put the company up for huge fines.
An electrical accident implies hospitalization costs, recovery time and days off work. Failure to implement protective measures can be expensive. Willful or repeated OSHA violations can bring penalties of $5,000 to $70,000 for each violation.
“Equipment health is of the utmost importance,” says Kevin Pietras, Global Marketing Director, Electrical Safety. “Having your equipment tested and certified means that it’s up to established standards and working exactly as it was designed to. When used as directed, users can be confident and assured their certified equipment will keep them safe.”
PPE inventory is an ongoing process, as regulations require continuous on-site monitoring and validation of PPE efficiency.
In this context, are pen-and-paper methods still efficient?
“Oftentimes, PPE asset and compliance management data is buried in spreadsheets, databases and paper-based systems”, Pietras says. These are very manual methods, time and paper-intensive. If these spreadsheets or paper notebooks were to get lost or logged incorrectly due to human error, it could result in costly downtime or worse - workers in the field with untested/uncertified PPE which presents an enormous risk to that worker’s safety”.
Did you know it costs an average of $122 to locate a misplaced document?
Smarter PPE management starts with RFID
If you have a growing inventory, you need a smarter, more reliable way to manage safety equipment.
Thanks to technology, companies can now connect and track virtually any piece of personal protective equipment – hard hats, fall protection gear, gloves, ladders, fire extinguishers - using RFID tags and cloud-based software.
There’s a lot of intelligence in a little RFID tag. When applied to PPE items, RFID tags give them a scan-able identity. After scanning, product information is processed via a cloud-based software solution and delivered to an easy-to-access web-based platform.
Safety managers see PPE items and when their due for inspection. You can also keep track of what item is issued and to whom.
RFID tags enable a centralized equipment inventory, which helps avoid compliance pitfalls.
Some equipment has embedded RFID tags.
Our new Honeywell Salisbury Dipped Rubbed Gloves and Sleeves come with tags vulcanized onto the glove at the manufacturing plant, for secure and durable adhesion. Electriflex™ Gloves are 30% more flexible than any other glove we’ve ever made and are expertly designed to give linemen the ultimate in comfort and control.
For your existing natural rubber dipped gloves and sleeves, an RFID Patch option is available to give you the same RFID scanning and tracking functionality to the products you already own. Once applied via a simple heat press process, our new RFID Patches can be scanned into Honeywell Safety Suite or any asset management tracking software for real-time asset compliance tracking.
Additionally, our New RFID Patches feature a QR code and a printed numerical code, giving you multiple ways to read each patch.
Honeywell has also created separate RFID patches for other pieces of equipment.
Other types of RFID tags are available:
- RFID tags embedded into The Honeywell Salisbury Pro-Wear Plus series of arc flash garments
- a tag that adheres to various flat, non-metallic surfaces
- a tag that can be mounted to metallic surfaces
- a sealed, rigid RFID tag that can be attached even to devices with irregular or odd-sized surfaces.
Once the tags are scanned, Safety Suite will automate and streamline the collection of data to provide safety managers with real-time visibility – you’ll see if your workers are ready for the job, equipped with the right PPE and properly trained to do their jobs.
“Our new RFID Bundle will make it easier for utilities to ensure their linemen have the right certified gloves and sleeves for the job while also helping to improve efficiency through simpler and faster records management, inventory control, and forecasting ability,” Pietras concludes.
Never lose an equipment record again. Learn more about our RFID Bundle for electrical safety, here.