Early Insights on our new Centurion Partnership

Nils Aksnes, Fearsome's Project Lead, provides some early personal insights on the first project in the recently formed partnership with Centurion, the market leading personal protection equipment (PPE) manufacturer.

The project, funded in part by the Technology Strategy Board of Innovate UK, is aimed at addressing known deficiencies in 'above-the-neck' PPE (Personal Protection Equipment). Specifically, issues with user and work task compatibility. The approach to the partnership will be to provide a user centric approach to a range of products that end users will wear for prolonged periods of time.

"We've undertaken some fairly in-depth face to face interviews with local, national and international construction and civil engineering contractors, speaking with owners, managers, health and safety teams and buyers," says Nils.  "We've just started on a programme of construction site visits, looking at how the users of the equipment interact with their PPE at the coal face. Already we've gleaned some enlightening observations." 

"Users are often required to carry out 5-6 tasks just to put on or take off the necessary PPE - hard hat, gloves, goggles, ear defender and mask, often for carrying out sporadic tasks. We've found already that with each additional item added to protect the worker from a different potential hazard, it's addition can often compromise the performance of the equipment already being worn. It can also at times, make the job of the construction worker more difficult to undertake...none of which is particularly satisfactory."

With so many different stakeholders involved with very different needs - cost, protection performance, compliance and usability, this creates an extremely challenging brief for Nils and his team.

"That's the really exciting thing about this project from a designers perspective" continues Nils. "There are clearly big opportunities to create better solutions for the user but these will only be successful when we are able to balance these human factors with the needs and requirements the other stakeholders and the market, with cost in particular being a real driver for this market."

On announcing this new partnership, Centurion's Chief Technical Officer and CEN TC158 European Head Protection Chair Dr Mandy Humphreys commented, “We were impressed with Fearsome’s human centric design process and skillset.  It is absolutely congruent with Centurion’s values as problem solvers and pioneers in head safety.  We would like to thank Fearsome and Innovate UK for the opportunity to help us lead the way in wearer insight and innovation.” 

Alan Suttie, Managing Director, Fearsome commented, “We’re delighted to be partnering with Centurion to help them develop a strategic roadmap for their next generation of ‘above the neck’ PPE products. It’s always thrilling to be engaged with a market leading brand that continues to invest, explore and innovate to develop their world leading product range.”  

This partnership represents an entirely new and exciting approach for Centurion in their clear vision as experts in total head safety at work.