Maintaining Safety and Protection for the Staff of Nuclear Power Plants in the UK

A picture of a nuclear plant

The UK calls itself home to 9 different nuclear power plants

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 "smart" robot

Robots of this style are often employed by nuclear plant staff for dangerous missions

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.

Full body protection by Caractere

Check out Caractere’s protective clothing offerings by clicking above.

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.

Caractere's head set covers in white colour

One of the most popular products from Caractere, our white earphone covers!

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.

Caractere's head set covers in black colour

Black earphone covers by Caractere

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.

Disposable earphone covers by Caractere Paris

Caractere’s famous head set covers, available in white and black

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.

For more information, please click here: http://bit.ly/1bedeAF

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.

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A new year with Caractère: Disposable solutions for ‘Back to School’

This time of year coincides with several changes. The long and sunny days start to lose their spark, not to mention length. People move around in droves, beginning new jobs and seeking new titles. The produce available changes, just as the coulors of the leaves on trees. For students and teachers, another year starts to take shape, along with its inherent excitement and anxiety. How can school administrators and education policy makers ensure a safe, easy and comfortable return to the classroom? Let’s explore the opportunities to improve your institution over years past with Caractère’s wide range of disposable products for schools and day care centers!

Naptime hygiene
Does your establishment encourage kids to take nap? A vital moment of rest during a child’s formative years, naps help the child to recharge and reboot. Pediatricians explain the need for naps as a result of the process of growth and development, a highly energy-demanding experience for children. Experts agree that as long as one imposes limits and sticks to a regimen, naps will not interfere with the child’s ability to attain a normal night of sleep.

While most teachers believe in the necessity of naps, the problems of modern life can make this normally simple concept more complicated than necessary. Naptime hygiene, in particular, proves a constant problem for daycare centers and schools. How do some institutions prevent the spread of lice, fleas, chicken pox and other diseases and pests; problems that perennially plague others? How can the school’s administration provide a comfortable solution for children often required to sleep on the floor? How can ease of use, affordability and cleanliness intersect?

To answer these questions, Caractère proudly presents disposable sleeping bags! The bags come in sets of 10 units that measure 2 m (6½ feet) long and 1m (3¼ feet) wide each. Imagine trying to travel or go camping with a group of children and having to organise logistics. Among the prime concerns of food and shelter would be the decision of where to sleep. Clearly, there now exists a quick and simple solution. Custom-designed from a resistant, non-woven fabric, these lightweight sleeping bags can be used as liners inside more traditional insulated sleeping bags, on top of nap mats or thick carpeting, or with blankets and other traditional bedding materials.

Large enough for adults yet cozy enough for children, Caractère designed the sleeping bag liner with every need in mind. In the unfortunate event of a natural disaster, they can provide ease of mind in relief centres and airports. Ever versatile, homeless shelters and other group housing establishments could use them to avoid the spread of infections. Zipper-free, there’s no danger of snagging or hurting yourself, or feeling a cold shock from metal touching the skin. Individually-wrapper packaging ensures a hygienic distribution to each and every user. Finally, created with the environment in mind, the liners can then be thrown away or recycled. To learn more, see the Sleeping Bags page on Disposable Linen’s website.

For the youngest among those at daycare, Caractère also created a baby-friendly version of the sleeping bag. Ideally for children of two to 18 months old, the bags are available in sets of 6 units. A wonderful, innovative and popular product not only for day cares, but also for parents on the go who want the best quality sleeping arrangement for their children. Available in 6 colours, you can choose one to match your mood. This solution ends your worries about cleaning, ironing and looking out for baby sheets!

Both the adult and baby sleeping bags’ lifespans range anywhere from one to two weeks, depending on the user’s cleanliness and preferences. In terms of safety, the baby-sized version closes thanks to a Velcro seal sewn on shoulders, instead of the buttons used by other products that pose a choking hazard. A zip fastener on the side prevents injuries to the baby’s neck. Adjustable in size thanks to shoulder straps, the sleeping bag also offers room for a personal touch with the choice of six colours: Blue, Light Blue, Golden Yellow, Light Yellow, Salmon and Light Green. Please see the Disposable Linen website for more information about our comfy Baby Sleeping Bags.

Library and media room cleanliness
Does your school integrate multi-media presentations or activities into its lessons? Research shows that switching from the typical, top-down hierarchy of lectures to a more inclusive and varied set of media sources encourages the development of a child’s mind. In addition, it helps provide a moment of discovery for the children, who feel they have a choice over what information they access and for how long. Why not take advantage of advances in technology to accelerate learning and give your kids a more accurate view of the world?

Unfortunately, the realities of lice and ticks often put a damper on multi-media aspirations. A pesky issue, these critters can dig deep down in the padded foam that lines earphones and headsets, ready to strike at any moment. Once infected, a child can spread lice to an entire class in a matter of days. After a tick attaches itself, it can spread lyme disease and stay on the child’s skin for extended periods of time, undiscovered, sucking blood as long as it desires.

Fortunately, Caractère’s disposable headphone covers present a perfect solution! Totally hygienic, this is the only way to avoid infections because each user puts on a different set each time. Avoid the lice, ticks, flu viruses and mega-resistant bacteria with sanitary equipment for each user. Luxury gyms and fitness centres already provide their clients with these headphone covers to allow users to listen to music or watch television while they enjoy their favourite exercise activities. This after they found it too costly to give a new pair of headphones to each guest, not to mention the environmental waste that would entail!

Easy to wear and comfortably breathable, the earphone covers feel almost undetectable when worn. Caractère now offers six different sizes of headphone covers, designed and tailored for devices between 1 and 7 inches (3 to 12 cm) in diameter. They also fit the ear pieces of conventional telephones and function as an ideal cover for cellular and mobile headsets, such as CN® ou jaffa®. Fitting snugly, they guarantee your listening comfort while providing the safety desired by parents and health inspectors by showing your respect for hygiene. Individually wrapped and sealed for sanitary conditions, they come in sets of pairs for simple distribution. Each package contains 100 pairs (200 individual covers), in an easy-open box that doubles as a dispenser for the covers.

Video: How to measure the size of your disposable headphone covers

For the style-conscious, Caractere manufacturers them in both black and white versions. Check our website for more information and do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Our staff is standing by to ensure your transition into this new school year goes as smoothly as possible. Finally, we want to wish the best of luck to the teachers and students out there!

Sanitation, Comfort and Practicality: Disposable, Protective Covers for Headphones, Headsets, Earphones and Microphones

from Caractère ParisThe development of the computer, the television, the CD, film, the telephone and the seemingly infinitely expanding forms of media that exist today has revolutionized the way we learn and stay informed about the world around us.

These inventions have similarly revolutionized libraries and commerce, in particular for sectors that specialize in media. Both saw the emergence of public listening stations and computers where users could sample the work of the artists that inspire and interest them.

With the need for discretion, quiet and a personalized experience in these public places came the popularization of public earphones. We all know, those dreadful things that, even a day after their purchase, always seem to smell and feel sweaty, oily and simply unclean.

Whether a pair of tiny earbuds that seem to disappear when one wears them, or the headset typically worn by a helicopter pilot, shared headphones are rarely a pleasure to put on, let alone wear for the duration of a movie.

What’s more, given the recent threats of various animal flu epidemics (avian, pork, etc.), these headphones have become a public health nightmare because they function as a conduit for the spread of infectious germs.

However, the flu is not the only negative possibility: skin diseases, parasites, fungi, lice, acne and other undesirable creatures can live on the surface or become lodged in the foam of earphones. Talk about unwelcome guests, and all you wanted to do was listen to a new album or watch a short video…

Librarians and shop owners have of course become aware of these issues through complaints from the general public. Unfortunately, they are also liable for the issues that arise from providing shared earphones, which could, in severe cases, result in law suits or health inspection agency fines.

What steps can be taken to ensure sanitation and a pleasurable multi-media experience for each user? Until now, managers only had two choices: buy a new pair of earphones for each client, or to clean and disinfect the headphones between each use.

The first is obviously wasteful (because most people already own several pairs of said earphones and don’t need any more — think about all the times you’ve rejected a pair of cheap earphones gifted to you aboard a plane) and often cost prohibitive, especially given a financial crisis that has forced budget cuts for public services worldwide.

The second option, to thoroughly clean and disinfect the earphones, is more economical and less wasteful, but it also requires the purchase of abrasive, sometimes toxic chemicals and cleaning equipment, and is very labour intensive.

The last time anyone checked, “earphone cleaning and maintenance” does not figure into the job description of librarians or store staff. Also, while disinfectants are highly effective, they never kill 100% of the germs, nor can they remove lice and other parasites.

The other issue that arises is the wetness after cleaning, which can damage the equipment or require a long wait to dry. This makes the business owner or library manager return to the question of what the point was of cleaning headsets if it’s going to require one to buy additional earphones for users in between cleaning cycles.

from Caractère Paris

Headphone Cover Detail

Finally, an economical and practical solution was invented: the disposable headset protection cover!

It looks like a small cap that covers the surface of the listening device with a relatively thin layer of mesh cloth, attached around the earpiece with an elastic strap on the non-listening side to keep the cover in place.

This elastic does not bother the listener, but also allows the covers to conform to a variety of headset sizes and shapes: They are made from a high-quality, light, nonwoven fabric, making them very resistant to wear.

During manufacture, the same hygienic procedures are employed as with the manufacture of medical gowns and surgical scrubs, meaning the covers arrive sterile, individually wrapped for simple distribution.

As such, this guarantees a unique experience for each user. However, the user can decide if he or she wants to recycle or reuse the covers – they’re single-use in the sense that only one user opens the packaging of each pair, but there is no limit to the number of times they may choose to use (and reuse) the covers.

They come in six different sizes to allow their use with the smallest ear buds or the widest “Mickey Mouse ear” headphones. On top of the size choice, the buyer may specify either black or white. White is less expensive because it’s cheaper to produce, but black looks discreet that many enterprises and media centres prefer it.

They can also be employed to cover microphones in order to shield them from saliva, germs and other problems that can arise and damage expensive equipment.

from Caractère Paris

White Headphone Cover Sizes

from Caractère Paris

Black Headphone Cover Sizes

The covers are affordable enough to be changed regularly, in between each user; and simple enough to deploy that the users can change them personally, a reassuring gesture that guarantees a feeling of being cared about and that gives the establishment a sense of professionalism.

In addition to stores and libraries, these covers can be equally useful for educational purposes

  • classrooms,
  • exam halls,
  • training sessions, simulators,
  • interactive exhibits at museums, planetariums, aquariums,
  • press conferences or diplomatic meetings that require translations,
  • pre-court proceedings (such as, for recording or listening to depositions),
  • call and chat centres,
  • tele-support services, advice hotlines, public phone stations and payphone services.