The nuclear industry plays a major role in providing power for a number of countries in Europe, especially in countries like France, Spain and the UK. Several large companies maintain a presence on the British Isles, including Areva, Hitachi, EDF and Westinghouse. In addition, the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester maintain a partnership called the NAMRC, or the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, which allows academic and industrial actors from different backgrounds in the nuclear supply chain to collaborate on projects of mutual interest.
With nuclear power comes its advantages, such as minimal greenhouse gas emissions and relatively safe containment methods. However, an accident could strike at any moment, as exemplified by the disasters of Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and most recently, Fukushima. For this reason, a constant standard of safety and protection must be kept for workers at nuclear power plants, so they can conduct their jobs in a secure, effective fashion.
A total of nine nuclear plants are currently active in the UK, eight of which maintained by EDF Energy, and the remaining one by Magnox Limited. Together, the plants provide nearly one fifth of all electricity in the UK. The provision of supplies and maintenance of equipment in a hostile environment, specifically in close proximity to nuclear reactors and the plants that contain them, must be possible throughout day and night on a year-round basis.
Security cameras and robotic technologies have provided new, technologically-advanced methods to ensure safety even when people cannot intervene on ground. Still, nothing matches the precision and skills offered by the human eye, or the dexterity afforded by a pair of hands.
Whether in the UK or elsewhere, the workers at a nuclear site find themselves constantly required to enter into zones of dangerously high levels of radiation, where they’re exposed to the hasards of this occupation. Regularly, the levels of radioactivity in these areas surpasses the normally acceptable levels for everyday life. All the heat generated from the reactor also causes concern, especially on warm summer days when the outside temperature can exceed those planned during the design process of the reactors.
Security and safety personnel can lower the amount of radiation to which they’re exposed by careful and assiduous use of vests, bodysuits, shoe covers, gloves and other protective equipment, as long as they remove these layers of protection after each exit from the dangerous zones.
Often, the workers must communicate with coworkers in other parts of the plant, if not from outside agencies or governmental structures, thanks to walkies-talkies and other closed-circuit communication devices.
In order to limit the amounts of radiation to which these brave workers are exposed, we’ve designed and manufactured protective covers for ear pieces and microphones of the type often necessary in this line of work. They allow the personnel to avoid getting into direct contact with a listening device that has already been exposed to radiation.
These headphone covers are a hygienic and disposable solution that slides over the listening portion of headsets. Using advanced manufacturing techniques, they’re crafted from a non-woven tissue of softened polypropylene, which is also entirely hypoallergenic.
Each pair of earphone covers comes in an individually-wrapped clear plastic bag to assure perfect hygiene each and every time. What’s more, this closed bag method allows the staff of the plant to conduct a quick examination of the situation before distributing used covers. If the bag appears like it’s been opened, or that one earphone cover is already missing, that’s probably an indication that the set has already been used in a hazardous zone.
After each visit into the dangerous areas of the reactor, the covers can be removed and disposed of in the proper manner to maintain a constant level and standard of safety.
It’s recommended to use a colour different from that of the headset, in order to permit easy identification. For example, on a black or gray headset, it makes the most sense to stick to white protective covers so your workers and managers can monitor the whole team’s status and ensure their safety.
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Of course, this information could be of equal importance to those working in other preventative fields, such as health and security inspectors, responsible for assuming some professional risks when on the job.