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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Client Feedback for the Disposable Protective Headphone Cover

from Caractère Paris

Black Headphone Covers

Recently, we received an email from a client that reflects how almost everyone feels about the usefulness of our protective headphone covers.

To: Caractère Paris
From: L. D. L.
Date: March 27, 2011
Subject: Protective Covers for Headsets

For years, I have been looking for sanitary headphone protectors exactly like the ones I ordered from Caractère. In fact, I manage a training room equipped with telephones that use microphone and headphone attachments. Nothing could sound more mundane, am I right? However, over the years, those pesky little creatures so well known by our school children started to make their appearance even on the adult students in my classes. After several complaints from our interns over the course of a few months, I wondered how anyone more than 10 years old could get head lice. It turns out that yes, the infestation was due to our headsets and microphones. Confirmation of these suspicions came from a closer inspection of the headphones, and more specifically, their design. The earphones came with a faux leather and foam pad to increase their comfort. It is very easy to imagine that when students placed the earphones on their heads, they “harvested” a few of the nasty buggers, and in the process slowly transferred them from one student to the next. Once I figured out the cause of the problem, I had to quickly find a solution.

My first impulse was to buy an anti-lice disinfectant spray to instantly annihilate the pests on the headphones. After a few phases of trial and error, I realised this was probably not the best idea. The spray acts as a corrosive to the foam ear phone pads and eventually eats through them. So, I scoured the internet to see if anyone sold disposable headphone covers, with the disposable part of the protection essential given the nature of our media centre’s issues. My idea was to provide each student with a pair of headphone protectors at the beginning of the session that he or she could use throughout the day and then discard on the way out of the training room. Over the years, due to the gradual wear and tear of the equipment, the room had become equipped with a wide variety of headsets from different manufacturers, of course in various shapes and designs. This problem was multiplied by four when one factored in the four different earpiece sizes in the room.

from Caractère Paris

White Protective Headset Cover

So, I did an Internet search to find the ideal sanitary protection cover for this assortment of headphones. A few clicks later, voila, I discovered Caractère, a French manufacturer that makes a wide range of disposable covers for headphone earpieces and microphones. After inquiring about their availability and measuring the sizes of my headphones, I was beyond happy to discover they make the covers available in six different sizes and two colours, black and white. Still hesitant about the possibility of having found a fix this quickly and easily, I asked them to send samples to ensure they would work.

After receiving the samples, which fit perfectly, I was convinced and placed my first order. The protective covers come wrapped in pairs in small, individually sealed bags, with what must have been a hundred pairs of covers per box. Since then, I’ve been using these protectors for the centre’s headsets for a year and a half, and I am very satisfied (not to mention, so are the students!) that the lice issue was finally solved.

Remaining in close contact with the manufacturer, I asked if they could provide a similar form of protection for microphones. We needed disposable protectors that could be added on top of the foam of the microphone attachments without causing any audio distortion. Of course, there is a very wide variety of microphone designs and sizes. I found out that a bulk custom order of 5000 pieces would be ideal, but since it was too large a quantity our needs, we opted for a newly developed microphone sanitation spray that can effectively disinfect microphone foam without damaging it. The anti-bacterial, fungicidal and anti-viral spray is also certified for food contact, which means the user can put his or her lips on the foam without any concerns for its effects on health or wellness. The case is now closed, and we’ve finally found the ideal solutions to our headphone and microphone problems, thanks to Caractère.

Finally, here is a short video we made about how to choose the right size of Disposable Headphone Protector before you order.

Announcing Chocolate Kimonos, a Colour so Appetising and Delicious, You’ll Want to Take a Bite

from Caractère Paris

Chocolate Kimono with V-Neck

Caractère’s Coif’Hygiene Division would like to take this opportunity to announce the launch of a new colour of our highly popular kimono-style gown, Chocolate! This new chic and classy colour expands the already wide range of work uniforms, kimonos and gowns we offer. The new baby joins our line of existing colours: white, black, beige, dark blue, gray, red and now, last but not least, chocolate! A change of ambiance without a change of decor!

What are these kimonos, you ask — where, how and for whom are they useful?

They were designed with hair stylists and beauty salons in mind, providing total body coverage for customers receiving treatments. This relaxed and refined colour gives hairdressers a touch of calm and warmth to offer to their customers. The chocolate kimono is also available in two designs: V-neck or crew cut.

Why the option?

The V-neck design was created specially for clients receiving care in salons or beauty institutes that have to wander from one booth or room to another. The opaque material protects the client’s privacy. Created extra wide and long, it will fit virtually any body type. Plus, simply said, the V-neck looks snazzy. A pocket and belt adjusts the kimono to the perfect size for the wearer, providing an elegant silhouette.
The V-neck also responds best to the needs of the hair dresser who performs a simple wash, comb, styling and/or blow dry.

from Caractère Paris

Black Crew Neck Kimono

On the other hand, the crew neck kimono is ideal for clients receiving cuts, bleaching, dying, tinting or otherwise extensive and/or messy treatments. The front side seal allows for a comfortable and snug fit, which can be adjusted to cover the entirety of the customer’s neck and shoulders. Say goodbye to the little hairs that slide in between the folds of an unclosed robe! It is also the crew neck kimono that makes it easier to shave the client’s neck. No more need to remove the neck seal in order to finish a hair cut! This extra detail saves valuable time, makes the stylist seem more professional and ensures the client will leave the session happy and hair-free. For stylists dealing with clients with a low-set hairline, the crew neck kimono provides a maximum area of work space without having to move or reset the neck line.

Why a chocolate coloured kimono?

A warm but calm brown hints at a sense of class and style, without looking flashy or pretentious. Aside from the fashionable side, there is also the functionality of a brown kimono – it will resist stains from most hair colour dyes and tints, meaning you’ll have to change sets less often.  Plus, both male and female customers will appreciate the neutral colour of protection — no one wants to be wrapped in a candy pink suit when an adult. The chocolate colour, while being warm by nature, does not seem feminine. It also changes things from the typical black and white. It will look delightful in your salon with shades of stone, tile, wood or even beige. It will bring a touch of organic “zen,” an earthen tone that reflects respect for nature. It’s also a colour for the gourmand that will flatter their skin tone, no matter what tone!

What’s more, all of our kimonos, no matter the colour or style, come individually wrapped for perfect hygiene, and are recyclable once used. Not just green washing here — Caractère wants you and your clients to know we do our best to contribute to the principle of sustainable development. Now try a salon kimono that communicates this principle through both form and function, and that looks elegant on top of everything.