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Lee Taylor, Wenaas, UK, explores the importance of specially designed PPE and work wear for the increasingly extreme environments faced by the oil and gas industry.

Attitudes towards offshore health and safety have come a long way in recent years. Heightened regulatory processes along with major advances in technology have meant that offshore workers are now better equipped to deal with the increasing demands of their roles in harsher climatic environments than ever before.

Health and safety has become a huge industry in its own right, with oil and gas industry bodies funding a multitude of research and development projects to provide the latest safety resources for their workforce. Included in this is the personal protective equipment and work wear sector, which has progressed in tandem with other strands of health and safety. As the offshore workforce evolves, so does the requirement for updated PPE and work wear. This is perfectly illustrated by the recent research undertaken by a university based in Aberdeen, which has assessed the implications of a physically growing offshore workforce upon a number of health and safety measures in general – not least the efficacy of PPE and work wear. The question is – have the work force’s habits changed sufficiently to ensure the right procedures are being followed?

Wenaas is a designer and manufacturer of work wear and PPE, and understands the importance of investment in research and development to continually optimise and improve work wear and PPE. It is on the basis of this commitment to R&D – and a ‘head-to-toe safety’ ethos – that Wenaas has been involved in research projects which aim to develop superior protection work wear, fit to cope with the extreme demands that the petroleum industry supplies.

This is important, because whilst the North Sea offshore industry holds a relatively positive track record for safety, E&P activity is moving into more hazardous, remote and ultimately more dangerous areas, as the search for reserves continues. This presents increasingly challenging environments within which work wear and PPE must perform, whilst highlighting the need for the emergence of innovative solutions and education on how to use those solutions to their best advantage.

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