Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) refers to various kinds of protective clothing and equipment, such as helmets, gloves, goggles, shoes, vests, masks, earplugs, and so forth. These items are meant to protect the wearer from injuries, infections, or other health risks that may occur in their work setting. The significance of PPE for workers' safety is evident from the statistics on occupational accidents. Recent data analysis shows that nearly 37.5% of accidents in a work setting were caused by the subject (person/worker) colliding with fixed objects while moving, while another 36.2% of accidents were caused by people colliding with objects while both they and the objects are in motion.
PPE can be divided into two categories: "protective clothing" and "protective equipment". The former includes standard workwear that enhances visibility and reduces exposure to harmful elements, while the latter consists of specialized devices that filter, shield, or isolate the wearer from specific risks.
The use of PPE in the European Union is regulated by the Personal Protective Equipment Directive 89/686/EEC, which ensures that workers are provided with the highest level of protection against potential hazards. The project WEAR4Safe aims to provide an innovative system that monitors the usage of PPE by workers in a smart and seamless way, according to their professions and tasks. The project's objective is to create digital "twins" of workers on a central cloud platform that dynamically and continuously tracks the proper wearing and use of PPE by the target subjects (people at work). Data is collected and analyzed using a combination of IoT sensors, proximity technology, and geo-data.
If any deviations or misuse of PPE are detected by a smart agent, then alerts and recommendations are sent to the users' (workers') mobile smartphones. This way, users and supervisors can have a better sense of security and prevent accidents. WEAR4Safe aims to benefit all employees, as well as reduce the costs of Social Security Organizations for compensating and treating people who had accidents at work.
The platform WEAR4Safe is both a system and a methodology that demonstrates how proximity technologies such as Bluetooth and NFC in wearable devices can be used to automatically verify whether a person is wearing (or not) the appropriate PPE. To demonstrate its impact, the platform has been applied to the case of the city of Trikala, through a collaboration of DOTSFOT and e-Trikala Development Agency. The results and the impact of the pilot case have been assessed and will be demonstrated through a demo of the interactive experience.
Acknowledgments: This research has been co‐financed by the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union and Greek national funds through the Operational Program Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, under the call RESEARCH – CREATE – INNOVATE (project code:T2EDK- 02699)»