Making every breath count


3M has developed soft headcovers and hoods for use with its powered and supplied air equipment, designed to combat concerns about protection and comfort. Of importance to the pharmaceutical industry, the new headcovers have an Assigned Protection Factor of 40. The S Series headcovers and hoods have fully integrated suspension; the 3M powered or supplied air equipment is attached and the user is then ready to go. They are also suitable for applications that require frequent replacement of the entire headtop assembly, such as pharmaceutical manufacturing, or in situations where there is a low level of soiling of the outer fabric.

3M says the hoods can also be a cost-effective choice for some environments with a high disposal rate; just the soiled fabric is replaced, while the suspension and the air ducting can be reused. The hoods also have an externally adjustable airflow control.

Jo Partridge, technical services manager for 3M's Occupational Health & Environmental Services Division, said: ‘Our customer feedback showed us that with most hoods, and headcovers in general, there was an issue with whistling around the ears when the air was pumped in. The new airflow distribution for the hoods and sizing options for the headcovers minimise the problem, allowing for better communication and comfort.’

Other benefits of the new S-Series include: • Excellent field of vision with reduced curvature for decreased reflections and glare; • Improved air-flow distribution for comfort and lower noise; • Greater comfort – they are lightweight and loose-fitting; • Coverage of the head or head, neck and shoulders as well as eye and face protection to EN166 (liquid splash and low energy impact).

The S-Series range can be also worn over prescription eyewear and some limited facial hair.

The headcovers are available in two sizes – small-to-medium and medium-to-large – and will comfortably fit most wearers.

A new guidance package has also been developed for each headtop and turbo combination to show how regular checks can help maintain protection levels, optimise the lifespan of the product and avoid the cost of early replacement. 3M will send a maintenance and care folder to all users who request it.

Partridge added: ‘Our aim is to keep people safer at work and to help and support health and safety managers. To do this we have to invest a lot of time in research and development. We are constantly looking forward at new technologies and making sure that we really are creating respiratory protective equipment (RPE) that people want to wear, is comfortable and allows them to stay productive.

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3M also runs a helpline, which is an essential component of its maintenance and care package, where staff talk through the RPE process with the customer to understand the hazard and the environment.