Construction sector is the second largest employer providing employment to skilled, semi skilled and unskilled and it is in this sector accidents are quite common. Government stringent policies and dissemination of importance of wearing safety equipment is making the difference to life and PPE manufacturers
Need we have to emphasise the importance of personnel protective equipment (PPE) in our life? By now we are all aware. For the past several months, a mask (PPE) covering our mouth and nose, has been saving us from the deadly coronavirus – the Covid-19. PPEs are not limited to mask, gloves and sanitiser, but it covers a whole gamut of equipment which protects us from head to toes. Starting with head covers which protect the hair and scalp from possible contamination when sprays or airborne exposure is anticipated to shoe covers which provides a barrier against possible exposure to airborne organisms or contact with a contaminated environment, PPEs are available to guard against possible harm to body parts. The safety eye wears (goggles) shields the wearer's eyes from impact hazards such as flying fragments, objects, large chips, and particles. Goggles fit the face immediately surrounding the eyes and form a protective seal around the eyes. This prevents objects from entering under or around the goggles. The face shields help in protecting the entire face or portions of it from impact hazards such as flying fragments, objects, large chips, and particles.The helmets, the hard caps, the bump caps aid in protecting the head against materials falling from a height or swinging objects or knocking against stationary objects. The ear plugs, ear muffs, hearing bands protect the workers inner ears from getting damage, who are engaged in work thatexposes them to noise that equals or exceeds 85 dBA.
No wonder, the market for PPE has started to gain momentum. As per report "India Personal Protective Equipment Market, By Category, By Industry, By Distribution Channel, By Region, Competition, Forecast & Opportunities, 2026" by Reportlinker.com, India personal protective equipment is projected to grow at a CAGR of more than 16% during 2021- 2026. The report attribute the growth of personal protective equipment market in India to due to increasing workplace safety, product innovations, increasing awareness towards worker’s health and rising incidence of various diseases such as Covid-19.
Safety awareness in India is yet to gain recognition. Every day there are a few construction workers who are fatally wounded while working on the construction site. As to a news report in the Indian Express, Mike Robinson, chief executive officer, British Safety Council, while addressing the media stated, about 48,000 workers die in India due to occupational accidents of which 38 fatal accidents take place every day in the construction sector. Overall, workplace deaths are twenty times higher in India than UK. “India, with 1.25 billion population, has a strong workforce of 465 million. However, only 20 percent of them are covered under the existing health and safety legal framework. Though there are laws to address these health and safety concerns, their implementation is a big task due to lack of adequate manpower.
India has elaborate laws to safeguard workers and employees working in construction site or in offices and to punish the culprit under the ambit of laws, but as Mike Robinson said, though there are laws to address these health and safety concerns, their implementation is a big task due to lack of adequate manpower. Yes, implementations are a huge concern. Though it is mandatory to have safety officers, many companies flaunt at the laws. Many companies view PPEs and safety equipment as an unnecessary expenditure, which results in the underrated value of human life, forcing safety measures a backseat.
As per the directive principle of state policy of the Constitution of India, the Government is committed to regulate all economic activities for management of safety and health risks at workplaces and to provide measures so as to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for every working man and woman in the nation. To address, disseminate and implement Safety-related legislation in the country the Government of India established the National Safety Council (NSC) way back on 4th March 1966. 4th March is observed as National Safety Day, every year. And starting from 4th March a one-week program National Safety Week is conducted to raise awareness about Safety. To disseminate information about Safety, NSC conducts various awareness campaigns through different mediums. Various kinds of safety trainings are provided by NSC.
Nowadays, technology disruptions are appearing in every sphere. IoT, AI, Wireless communication, GPS has taken over the way we communicate. The best examples are the smart digital watches which monitors heart beats, distance travelled, can check blood pressure, and can be a communicate tool just like smart mobile phones. PPEs and safety equipment are nowadays available fitted with sensors. These sensors fitted PPEs are connected to the Internet or other devices, such as Bluetooth, to deliver real-time safety information to workers in the field as well as managers remotely. These wearables can track movements, send voice messages, monitor body temperature, issue alerts and record audio and/or video. They’re often paired with a cloud-based analytics platform, and sometimes they pair with a smartphone apps. We came across a narrative of a construction site where access to site is restricted or denied to those who are not in proper safety gears. The chips in the safety equipment mark his present at the site and allow access to the site. Furthermore, it gives a detail summary of the work done by the workers through the chips to his manager. Then there are near-field communication (NFC) chips embedded in gloves allow users to scan data sheets and access information, such as the safety of chemicals and compounds. The chips can also guarantee that workers wear safety gloves, or the correct gloves, for handling hazards. Safety gloves can behave like swipe cards on products and may prevent wearers from entering dangerous areas or risking cross-contamination.
The industry is facing paucity of safety officers. During our interaction with few PPEs players they rued over shortage of safety officers. Those safety officers who are well versed look of lucrative opportunities in software industry. “These officers go for short-term software course and they are well settled in a well paying job. They don’t like to work in construction site. Those safety officers who are not well trained they work for a short period, say a few years, and then they too search for a better job,” says one of the managing director with whom we interacted. Companies like KARAM and other players have established their own training centres. KARAM Industries through KARAM Training and Consultancy (KTC) specializes in competency building training in areas of safe work-at-height, confined space & rescue in India & Internationally. KTC specializes in competency building in areas of safe Work-at-Height, Confined Space working & Rescue in India & SAARC countries. KTC is accredited to various international training bodies namely TRARAsia, Global Wind Organization and Gravity Training.
According to the report by Authentication Solution Providers Association (ASPA), a self-regulated industry body of anti-counterfeiting and traceability solutions providers, counterfeiting has risen steadily in the last few years. According to their finding counterfeiting incidents have increased 24 per cent in the country in 2019 over the previous year, creating an over Rs 1-lakh-crore dent in the economy. Counterfeit products are freely available in the market and it is near impossible for the lay buyers to detect counterfeit products from the original. To counter counterfeiting of their products PPEs and safety equipment manufacturers have come up with app. The buyers need to scan the code on the product through the company’s app to check fake from the original.
The foremost concern of the industry is low awareness of laws that compulsorily mandate wearing of safety equipment on construction site. To overcome this challenge and to spread awareness, many players have started awareness campaign. During the campaign workers and labourers are made aware of the proper wearing of safety equipment. The safety officers are made aware of the proper usage of the latest wearable technology.
Right now, it the healthcare sector that is driving the growth. As per the reports, the global healthcare personal protective equipment (PPE) market is expected to grow from $5.99 billion in 2019 to $7.83 billion in 2020 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30.80%. The rising cases of Covid-19 have coupled with the presence of stringent regulations regarding the safety of healthcare personnel are anticipated to bolster the product demand over the coming years. Healthcare sector is certainly going to spur up demand. But it is the infrastructure sector that is fast catching up. With Covid-19 cases at its bare minimum, India is back on its feet as far as infrastructure development is concern. The government has allocated 100 lakh crore for its recently launched Gati Shakti scheme or National Master Plan for multi-modal connectivity plan, with the aim of coordinated planning and execution of infrastructure projects to bring down logistics costs. Real estate is slowing limping back to normal. There are a slew of realty projects lined up. Labourers are back to majors and capital cities where construction work is in full swing after a long hiatus due to Covid-19. Furthermore the government is taking active steps to revive sectors such as construction, automotive, chemical, medical, pharmaceutical, oil & gas, steel & fabrication, where major demands for PPE comes from. Not to forget, the government ambitious Rs 103 trillion infra projects. Construction sector is the second largest employment provider in India employing skilled, semi skilled and unskilled. It is this sector which is prone to accidents which can be fatal. The requirement for PPEs and safety equipment are more here. India being one of the world’s fastest-growing economies undergoing rapid industrialization is expected bring boom to the PPEs industry.
Currently, the PPE Industry in India is worth Rs 7800 million. And it is estimated to grow near about at a CAGR of 14% by 2020 and reach USD 2 billion by 2024. With favourable growth drivers and government policies, a never-ending demand has been created for PPEs and safety equipment to safeguard workers against workplace threats