Feb 2020
Gas Distribution
Novel Seal PPE - Phase 2
Feb 2020
Jan 2021
Northern Gas Networks
Mark Simpson
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Network Innovation Allowance
GD - Safety and emergency
Health and Safety
Current breathing apparatus typically uses a hard material interface, which requires the wearer to be clean shaven for an effective protective facial seal. As a result users must be clean shaven for fitting of the apparatus, and remain so even if it is used infrequently. In reality operatives are not always suitably shaven to meet the manufacturers’ safety requirement, which negatively affects the fit and sealing capability, causing a health and safety risk. This restricts personal style choices from the user, as well as the potential to impact on religious belief.  
The solution is to develop improved breathing apparatus seals that can form a complete seal for users who have beards. This will: 
Improve protective sealing between the face and breathing apparatus (full face and half mask) 
Accommodate changes in facial hair styles 
Accommodate variations in musculoskeletal structure 
Improve fit and comfort 
Increase safety and compliance 
Provide personal styling freedom for operatives (which could potentially improve moral) 
1. Initial identification of technical and commercial requirements
2. Prototype production
3. Prototype user fit testing
4. Simulation field trials
There is significant potential for new learning as a result of the research and development conducted during this project. The technical development will provide a good assessment of the design capability and limitations, while the commercial development will show how NGN commercial interests and those of other stakeholders influence the product development. Both development streams can be applied to other products/criteria, and new contacts made during this project may have other benefits to NGN.