Capturing of life cycle data for Personal Protective Equipment with auto-id systems

Project No. FF-FP 0301


completed 10/2012


Various items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) provide a large contribution to the prevention of industrial accidents. Particularly the time- and usage-dependent features of PPE performance characteristics are essential. The project aim was the development of a feasibility study on the use of sensor-based auto-id systems for recording life cycle data of PPE.
Under inclusion of prerequisites elaborated by the Chair of Construction Management & Economics, University of Wuppertal, RFID technology has been identified as an appropriate system for capturing safety related life cycle data of PPE.
Furthermore it has been an objective of the research project to probe the possibility of detecting this data, such as UV-radiation on welding masks or acceleration on helmet or flow rates of filtering systems, by combining RFID technology with sensors.


Work scheme:
a) Identification of time-dependent characteristics of PPE-Items which are suitable for observation with the aid of auto-id systems
b) Identification of each appropriate auto-id systems
c) Identification of each appropriate system components
d) Assessing the feasibility and market-driven documentation of the results
It was tried to continue these technical alignments with the progression of an Identification and Classification Structure. The coding structure is considered as an absolutely necessary prerequisite regarding a nexus of recorded or stored data with individual PPE products.


The possibility of detecting life cycle data by Sensor RFID Systems was indeed demonstrated underlying, though a presently implementation in practice is unlikely due to the current state of technology in this area and appropriate monetary aspects. Nevertheless, to generate new profound findings in this field, the series of tests concerning the investigation of influences from acceleration on helmets was deepened by using a marketable system.
The secondary focus of research now was directed to the practical applicability of results. For this purpose, a long-term study in terms of fitting RFID Tags during the production of safety shoes has been carried out. After the 12-month testing period under real conditions from different subprofiles of construction sites, a failure rate of only 0.83% has been achieved.
In addition, a wholly interlinked system for capturing, exchanging and maintaining of corresponding safety related data has been conceptualized to support processes, such as in BGR 179 required inspection and check of safety nets, by RFID technology. In this context, a demonstrator was developed to illustrate the practical applicability of the system at respective events.
Also in focus was the already mentioned compilation of an Identification and Classification Structure for a total of eight PPE product groups. Due to the close cooperation with appropriate manufacturers and the chairmen of DGUV for respective fields, the results are both practical and comprehensive. The planned standardization coming into force will contribute to the implementation of the research results into practice and will help to achieve an added value for the DGUV.
The entirety of the results from all the sub-areas ensures a practice-relevant implementation of research results by the respective integration of the parties involved in the processes.
With regard to a precise plan for realization and launching it can be stated that the results will be combined with the PPE Portal, which has been developed in the previous research project Safety Technology with RFID, even sponsored by DGUV, and will be implemented for use in a mixing plant of EUROVIA GmbH during the year 2013.
In this way, the corresponding measures will deliver benefits to policyholders and insurers by improving the safety of workers.

Last Update:

28 May 2013


Financed by:
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e. V. (DGUV)
Research institution(s):
  • Bergische Universität Wuppertal

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:



personal protective equipment

Description, key words:

Life cycle, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), auto-id