PPE Embedded with Smart Technologies Emerging as Tech Trend Driving Growth of Personal Protective Equipment Market

In this modern industrial era occupied by machines and equipment, accidents and hazards at the workplace is common. Falling objects, sharp edges, flying sparks, noise, chemicals, and the myriad of many other hazardous situations are recurrent at facilities. To protect the workers from the hazard, a work management approach that allows utilization of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is contemplated as significant and an alternative means for protecting the workers. In the recent era, automation, industrial development, and digitalization has surged the safety of the workers and has condensed the need for protection at many workplaces. However, there is still a considerable number of jobs that need protection. Owing to such risks in the application industries, in 2018 3M, a global leader in worker safety producing PPE equipment, launched DBI-SALA Smart Lock to improve the safety of the workers. These smart locks series of self-retracting lifelines have emerged as a trend in the PPE market. It increases the productivity and accommodates work motions in vertical and horizontal applications. Such locks have reduced the number of accidents at site. The magnetic retraction systems retracts at an evenly controlled pace and reduces accidental lock-ups. Introduction of smart lock ups, influenced the companies to launch smart respiratory protective equipment, smart hearing protection, and smart hand protection. Due to increasing concerns related to workers safety and site accidents, the global personal protective equipment market size was evaluated to be $46.5 billion in 2018. The demand for PPE in the market is progressing at a CAGR of 6.95% during the forecast period 2019-2025.

Reportedly, more than 2.3 million men and women succumb every year due to work-related accidents and diseases which is almost 6000 deaths every day globally. Worldwide, there are around 160 and 340 million fatalities of work-related illness and occupational accidents annually, respectively. Furthermore, globally in 2016, 48,060 injuries took place wherein the workers were injured badly and out of which 697 deaths occurred due to falls to a lower level. The negligence of using personal protective equipment at the workplace leads to the increasing rate of occupational accidents at the workplace. Furthermore, growing awareness regarding employee health and safety and at the same time increasing casualties at the workplace is attributable to the personal protective equipment market expecting a spur in the coming years.

Smart PPE: An Emerging Tech Trend in the Market

Personal protective equipment is mandatory at the workplace where there are chances of deaths and injuries. Wearable technologies have gained momentum over the past few years. Smart technologies such as fitness trackers, phones, and watches have become an integrated part of PPE market. The body parts that are vulnerable are suitably equipped with the actuators and sensors that it is interconnected so that communication, interaction, and reaction with the wearer becomes safe, comfortable, and protective.

·   Smart Eyewear: The intelligent eyewear protection delivers enhanced communication, connection to the workers, and increased access to data.

·    Smart Helmet: Smart Helmet or e-hat, is the hardhat that is built-in smart technology that allows the worker to convey audio, video, and data back to the central workstation.

·    Smart Gloves: Safety gloves are integrated with near-field communication (NFC) that enables the users to access the information through their tablet or phone.

·    Coldwear: There are jackets that are developed with sensors to monitor the health of the workers while they are working in extremely cold conditions.

North America Region Likely to Remain on Top

In 2018, North America dominated the global personal protective equipment market with a regional share of 33% due to the increased adoption of products from end-use industries. The construction industry is growing and so is the demand for PPE. The region has started adopting smart PPE for the protection of the labors and widely using the virtual arms in the sector. In addition to this, in the U.S. construction industry recorded disproportionately high rate of accidents, with 971 deaths in 2017. Rising deaths and injuries are creating growth opportunities for the company’s manufacturing PPE. The U.S. holds the major revenue share due to high product penetration and adoption of personal safety equipment which is attributed to hefty penalties for non-compliance with the standards coupled with the stringent regulatory scenario. Increasing surge about the awareness related to work safety in the growing industrialization, pharmaceuticals, chemical, automotive, and food processing industries are the major factors that are driving the demand for the personal protective equipment.

Manufacturing Application Growing Intensively

Manufacturing is gaining the maximum traction in the global PPE market, which is growing at a CAGR of 6.55% during the forecast period. In developing economies such as APAC and South and Central America, the manufacturing activities are primarily increasing which is boosting the demand for protection products for employees, thereby driving the personal protective equipment market growth. The manufacturing industry requires the heavy deployment of personal protective gear as it involves huge auxiliary and primary processes for metal manufacturing and welding. Hence, the workers are exposed to situations where they have to switch from hard hats to face shields and welding helmets to safety goggles.

The Major Players in the Market

Some of the key players dominating the PPE market are National Safety Apparel, MSA SAFETY, 3M Company, Honeywell International, Rock Fall Ltd., Sioen Industries NV, Alpha Pro Tech, Ltd., Ansell Limited, and Radians, Inc. Many companies are introducing new products in order to increase their market presence or entering into strategic mergers and acquisition, joint ventures, and partnerships.