15 Mar What’s Next for PPE?
Until a year ago, the average layperson never even heard of personal protective equipment or “PPE”. It wasn’t until the pandemic hit that people from every walk of life, and businesses in every industry, suddenly realized the importance of having these items on hand on a regular basis. By then, demand was high, and supply was short. As months have gone by, supply is starting to catch up with demand, but it begs the question: when the pandemic recedes, what’s next for PPE?
The need for safety equipment
Most businesses have the standard safety equipment on hand: fire extinguisher, cleaning supplies, perhaps a first aid kit. Those in more hazardous industries may go a bit further with additional safety supplies, but few outside the medical industry consider PPE as a standard need for safety equipment. Now that businesses of all sizes have experienced what a lack of critical these supplies can mean to the operation of their business, it’s time to rethink what is considered “standard” safety equipment to have on hand. Safety is finally being viewed in a new light. As a result of the global pandemic, people are hearing the call for safety. There is now a greater awareness of what businesses must do to keep their employees safe and planning appropriately to ensure supplies are consistently on hand to meet those safety requirements.
PPE is the latest in must-have safety equipment
The demand for PPE will continue to grow exponentially in this “new normal”. Even after the most recent threat of coronavirus recedes, businesses are going to do everything they can to protect their employees, thus protecting their businesses, and these products play a large role in that. Manufacturers are taking note: the PPE market is poised to grow by $2.55B during 2020-2024, progressing over 16% during that period.
How businesses will change their safety processes
Understanding the need for a continual supply of high-quality PPE products, businesses must anticipate the needs of their employees and customers, providing a variety of ways to access these products. Purchasing departments need to build the continual supply of PPE into their budgets and requisition forms. Facilities managers need to consider adding access to lower-cost items such as masks in vending machines or other distribution options. For PPE manufacturers, there is a growing need for “smart PPE” that must be met. Smart PPE refers to wearable pieces of equipment, such as helmets, that connect to the internet or Bluetooth and deliver safety information to the wearer or others in the field. These wearables collect data, adjust to conditions, and warn of hazards. With the growing availability of these types of products, businesses must work with vendors to find a way to not only keep up with the supply needed but incorporate the technology into their businesses to effectively use this next generation of products.
Technology companies will drive the future
The innovations in personal protective equipment will come directly from technology companies experienced in PPE. These innovators will drive new technology, better distribution, and more effective utilization of PPE as safety equipment in the workforce. This is where the market is heading, and both PPE providers and businesses need to be prepared for this next step in overall safety. These new innovations in PPE are an exciting development in keeping people safe, and the future of what’s next for PPE is promising.