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In this audio, Paul Urwin interviews Jonathan Parkin, who, with Steve Perfect, co-founded Dellemma Ltd, an industrial safety company that produces the E-FAB.

The E-FAB (or Emergency First Aid Bag) is an innovative first response kit that fits inside a hard hat.

It is cleverly-designed, EN-397 approved and incredibly, fits inside a hard hat!

How did it all start?

While working offshore and enjoying some downtime, Steve and Jonathan came up with this amazing idea – “One of those light bulb moments” Jonathan recalls. They realized that, if someone had an accident in remote work area (where there is no first aid kit), then the situation could be critical.

Having a first response kit available in such situations could make all the difference, allowing for an immediate initial response that could allow an injured person to be stabilized before being moved to a different location for more specialised treatment.

Smart Hard Hats E-FAB Contents

As Jonathan puts it “If you have to go 5 or 10 minutes to get help, that is time that you are never going to get back.”

So, why is the E-FAB a great solution? As anyone in such situations will tell you, they don’t go anywhere without their hard had – “you never leave your hat behind”, says Jonathan.

And so it made perfect sense to design a product that would actually fit inside a hard hat. Something that is small, lightweight, compact, and always with you. Of course, it wasn’t easy given the space limitations, but they decided to forge ahead. After much work on the design and testing which allowed them to achieve the EN-397 certification, the E-FAB is now available to individuals and corporations around the world, providing an effective first response tool that could help to save lives.

Smart Hard Hats E-FAB Installation

How to find out more
More information is available at smarthardhats.com

Here is the full transcript:

Paul Urwin:

Hi, this is Paul from bigboxcontent.com.

Today I am here with Jonathan Parkin who co-founded an industrial safety company, together with Steven Perfect. A company that produces the E-FAB or Emergency First Aid Bag. A very innovative first aid product that fits inside of hardhats.

Hi, Jonathan, how are you today?

Jonathan Parkin:

I’m very well, Paul, how are you?

Paul Urwin:

Yeah I’m good thanks. I want to ask you lots of interesting questions today, but first of all, I thought I’d get started with, what  exactly is the E-FAB? If you could just briefly explain it to us please?

Jonathan Parkin:

The E-FAB is an Emergency First Aid Bag. Not a first aid kit, we haven’t designed it as a kit, it’s designed as a first response to an accident that you might have working anywhere, I suppose. It’s small, lightweight, compact. Has been specifically designed to fit inside a hardhat, which means it’s never left behind, it’s always with you, and always within reach.

Paul Urwin:

Okay, excellent. It sounds like an amazing idea. Where did that idea come from?

Jonathan Parkin:

Gosh. You’d have to rewind the clock about seven years. I used to work offshore with Steve, who co-founded it with me. It was one of those light bulb moments, I think. We were sat in the tea shack, everyone takes their hardhat off, puts their safety glasses, gloves inside their hat, and it gets cast aside. Then they tuck into a cup of coffee. I was sat next to Steve, we both took our gloves off, took our glasses off, stuffed them in the hardhat, as you do. I can’t remember whether Steve looked at myself or I looked at Steve, and one of us said, “You really should design something that’s useful to go in there.” And then one of us said, “Maybe a first aid kit, that would be really good.” We said, “Yeah, that’s brilliant, we should do that one day.” Then we had a cup of coffee and went back to work, and then that was it.

Paul Urwin:

That was the moment, that’s when it all started, or that’s where the seed started, then.

Jonathan Parkin:

Yes, yeah. The reason why we put it in the hat as well, is because you never leave your hat behind. When I’m at work, I’ll change my boots to maybe different footwear because I’m doing a different task, or I’ll change my coveralls because they’re dirty, your hat is the one thing you put down at the end of the day and you pick it back up at the beginning of the day. That was what gave us the idea as well of putting it in there.

Paul Urwin:

Yeah, so you might leave a first aid kit behind.

Jonathan Parkin:

Exactly.

Paul Urwin:

You might leave some other equipment behind, but you’re always going to have your hat with you.

Jonathan Parkin:

Yeah, yeah. You’re never going to leave it behind. You’ll always have first aid always within reach, as we say.

Paul Urwin:

Okay, well that’s great. You had this idea, obviously, it’s quite difficult to get from an idea to where you are now. How did that process happen? How did that idea become a reality?

Jonathan Parkin:

You are right, it’s difficult, very difficult, from an idea to get to an actual product, especially when you’re working, it’s quite hard. I think we were luckier than most others. We worked together offshore. You’re thrown together for two or three weeks at a time, so you have a bit of downtime, and it’s nice to do something in your downtime. I think that’s where we concentrated on the idea. How we could make it, what design it had to be. Yeah, a lot of time in the evening was spent just talking about the product, and if it was actually feasible. Why someone hadn’t done it before, and that sort of thing.

Paul Urwin:

Yeah, yeah. Okay, no brilliant, brilliant. Obviously, you’re working with limited space inside of a hardhat, obviously. How did you decide what exactly would go in the E-FAB?

Jonathan Parkin:

You’re correct. Yeah, there’s rules and regulations to what you can put. You’re not supposed to put anything in the void of a hardhat unless it complies, or unless it doesn’t affect the regulations that the hardhats are made to. Yeah, certain items were out of the question. Big bandages, you obviously couldn’t fit in there. We looked at first aid items in first aid kits and decided what would work best for us, and also work best in a first response situation. Like I said, it’s not a first aid kit, it’s not designed as a one man first aid kit, it’s got essential items in there that would be very useful should an accident happen. These were decided on size, weight, yeah, and those sort of things, really.

Paul Urwin:

I think that’s quite an important distinction, between being a first aid kit and a first response pack, if you like. I’m glad you’ve cleared that up. Okay. What about other products out there on the market? Is there anything like this out there? Do you have competitors, other people in this space?

Jonathan Parkin:

At present, no. It is a unique product, really unique. Obviously there are first aid kits out there, they come in various shapes and sizes, soft, hard. As for a first aid bag that contains essential items that can be stored inside your hardhat, no, this is the only one at present.

Paul Urwin:

You have had it tested, and you have some kind of certification for your product, is that right?

Jonathan Parkin:

Yes, hardhats go through various levels of certification. It’s to an EN 397 standard.  The one that concerns the E-FAB is impact testing. Obviously, we’re filling the space that’s supposed to be taken up for shock absorption, should an object fall from height and land on top of the hardhat. Yeah, we went through quite a lengthy process with various prototypes. Initially they failed because the design wasn’t quite right. We tweaked the design, the contents. It all affects the testing. Finally, managed to get it through the EN 397 Impact Standard test, which was really good.

Paul Urwin:

Yeah, yeah. Well, that’s incredible. That obviously then helps you to take the product to the next level, because it was going to be very difficult if you don’t have the required certifications, especially in the markets such as the offshore market that you’re talking about.

Jonathan Parkin:

Yeah, you’re absolutely right, Paul. Oil and gas, where safety is paramount, and the construction industry, railway industry, port authorities, and that sort of stuff. Nobody’s going to touch a product if you can’t guarantee that it doesn’t affect the wearer. Yeah, that was what held us up initially. We stopped and started over the years. We stalled at the testing stage, we just had trouble getting it under the levels required, but we finally got there in the end.

Paul Urwin:

Well, you’ve certainly kept at it and got to this stage now where you have a really, really innovative product. I’ve never seen anything like it, and it certainly appears to fill a gap in the market. There must be lots of people out there that would be interested in this kind of product. Who do you think you’re going to be able to help with this product?

Jonathan Parkin:

Gosh, I think it’s limitless, Paul. The opportunity is quite big, I think, at the moment. Steve still works in the oil and gas industry, obviously we’ve put it to various companies in the oil and gas industry. Transport for London, Crossrail, the construction industry. If you think anybody that wears a hardhat that works up on scaffolding, down railway lines, down the docks, anywhere. It just could be a lifesaver, of a bit of kit, it really could. If people look around them when they’re working.

This is what Steve and I thought one day, we were down on the cellar deck, and I said to Steve, “If you cut yourself here or injure yourself, I’ve got to go four levels up, across the bridge to the nearest first aid point. By that time anything could have happened.” Whereas if you carry an E-FAB with you, you’re there to give a first response to an injury to make sure that the patient, or the person is catered for within seconds. Then you can go and get yourself some help or raise the alarm.

Paul Urwin:

Yeah. Really, at that critical time it could prove absolutely essential, basically.

Jonathan Parkin:

Yes. You know yourself, the first few minutes of an injury are paramount. If you’ve got to go five minutes, 10 minutes away to get help, that’s time that you’re never going to get back.

Paul Urwin:

Absolutely. Yeah, yeah. Okay, well Jonathan, if we could just go through exactly … I’ve got a couple of questions for you now. What exactly is in it at the moment, okay? Also, moving on from that, could the contents or are the contents of the E-FAB adapted or changed in any circumstances, depending on the client needs? Or are they always going to be the same? What is in it and would that ever change?

Jonathan Parkin:

Yeah, it’s a good question, Paul. We had to market it, so we had to put a pack together, and that’s what we’ve called our standard pack as such, that consists of 10 items. You’ve got a couple of low adherent dressings, which are absorbent pads, one five by five, one seven by five. You’ve got a large adhesive plaster that you can use. A resuscitation face mask, some steryl wipes, gloves, wound closure strips, triangular bandage, burn bag and some burn gel. It’s a pretty compact kit.

Paul Urwin:

Okay. How can you fit all of that in there?

Jonathan Parkin:

We had trouble when we first started fitting it. The kit is all put together and it’s actually vacuum sealed. That compresses everything down. It’s not so much the size of everything, it’s the thickness. Obviously, we can’t take up too much space in the hardhat. By vacuum sealing it, it compresses it to under 10 millimeters in thickness, which enables to get lots of stuff in the kit, and enable it to fit in the hat, as such.

Paul Urwin:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s been quite a mission to get where you are now, and to get all of these components working together. When you think about putting something in a hardhat, as you said earlier, it’s a fantastic idea, but then to actually comply with certain standards, that’s obviously been difficult. Then the size and the vacuum sealing, that’s all been a challenge for you as well.

Jonathan Parkin:

It has. Myself, and Steve have stop-started this project. In the early days it was a brilliant idea, and we made prototypes, and then you would hit a stumbling block, and because we were both working, we stopped. We used to think, “Well, maybe this is why no one’s ever done it, because it’s not possible.” Then we would give up for a little while, and then we would kickstart it off again when one of us had a brainwave, and try it again. Yeah, it has been difficult. Problem solving is what you have to do, I suppose, to design something that’s going to work.

Paul Urwin:

Yeah, absolutely. Well, many congratulations, I think you’ve done a brilliant job.

Jonathan Parkin:

Thank you.

Paul Urwin:

You’ve obviously had success already in the U.K. How do you see the situation, not only in the U.K., but in the U.S. and perhaps even other markets worldwide?

Jonathan Parkin:

Just to finish that previous question that you asked, Paul, the contents of the pack.

Paul Urwin:

Sure, sure.

Jonathan Parkin:

I described the standard pack, but obviously, I think we’ve listed it on our website that we do offer bespoke packages. If a certain customer wanted to just have certain bits of first aid stuff in there, we can bespoke kits to customers requirements. Obviously, if they go over the weight of our standard pack, or the size, we’d have to get them retested, just to ensure that they certify to the standard. Yeah, we do offer bespoke packages.

Paul Urwin:

Okay yeah. Very good, yeah. Okay, excellent, excellent. Okay, back to this one then, how do you see the situation in the U.S. and other markets worldwide? Is this something that you plan on taking global?

Jonathan Parkin:

Yes, yes, most definitely. We’ve given out quite a lot of samples in the U.K. at the moment with positive feedback. A lot of the kits are now being trialed by various companies. We have a contact in the States that’s very interested in pushing the kit for us out there. We haven’t hit a stumbling block now, but we’ve realized that the EN 397, which is obviously a European standard, does not transfer to the U.S.A. They have their own standards over there. As we speak, the kits are now getting tested to what they call the ANSI standard. Its pretty much the same as the EN standard, but it’s an American standard. We’re hoping that, that will get passed, and then distribution, and sales, and that sort of stuff will start happening over there as well.

Paul Urwin:

Yeah, yeah. Well, another minor barrier I think for you guys, Jonathan, you’ve overcome quite a few already, so, yeah.

Jonathan Parkin:

We looked at the two standards, and our standard is slightly higher than the American standard, so we’re hoping that it will be a formality. You have to get these things done, dot the i’s and cross the t’s and get the paperwork, just …

Paul Urwin:

Yeah, absolutely.

Jonathan Parkin:

Yeah, because it’s something that you have to do.

Paul Urwin:

Absolutely. Especially if you’re looking at big orders from large multi-national companies. Obviously, one of the first things they need is these standards to be adhered to.

Jonathan Parkin:

Yes, yeah. I think that’s what we’re aiming for. We’re aiming for the larger companies. Obviously, we will sell to the individuals, but we want to market this at bigger companies to get bigger orders.

Paul Urwin:

Okay. How are you doing that at the moment? Are you attending any trade shows, do you do different events? What marketing plan have you got together at the moment?

Jonathan Parkin:

At the moment we’re still in the teething stages. We’ve given out samples. We did attend the A+A Trade Fair in Dusseldorf. We didn’t attend ourselves, we have a sales representative that took the product there. It was welcomed really well. That was where we picked up a contact in America that wanted us to get it through this ANSI testing to market it over there. Yeah, at the moment we’re just giving out samples to high profile companies, that’s only happened within the last couple of weeks if I’m honest, Paul. We’re leaving them with them. We’ve had feedback from a few that are saying they’re now putting them to trail.

Yeah, we’re going to have to put a marketing strategy together. At the moment we just want to see how the product is received by the industry before we go full on. It’s not a cheap venture launching a product and marketing it. Its small steps at the moment.

Paul Urwin:

Yeah, absolutely. It takes a lot of time, a lot of investment. Yeah, when you have something completely new like this, it is, of course, very exciting. It is very innovative, and its great to come up with something that just is completely new. Also, there is that feeling out there, or that uncertainty out there, as it to exactly how the market is going to react on a large scale.

Jonathan Parkin:

You’re totally right, Paul. If I showed you something that you’d already seen, you wouldn’t be wary of it. You’re taking something to new companies, which they’ve never seen before. Nobody’s ever come up with this concept either. It takes time for people to adjust, to think, “Yeah, that is a good idea.” Which is what we’re hoping.

Paul Urwin:

What I really like about it, Jonathan, is the way that you and Steven came up with the idea. The situations that you, yourselves were in when you look back a few years, and thinking about how this product would have helped you if you had been is some kind of situation. It’s got that first-hand reality to it that you know, you were the guys out there, you were the guys on rigs, or in certain situations where you could really see that this would be useful. I think that’s a huge plus.

Jonathan Parkin:

To come up with the product, I think you’re right, you have to work in the environment, where you wear a hardhat, where you work in dangerous situations, but isolated situations, just to give you the idea in the first place, I think, yeah. Steve and I are both first aiders when we’re offshore, and I think that helps you. You look at things slightly differently. If someone’s doing some work you think if something did happen, what have I got? I think that is what triggered the whole idea.

Paul Urwin:

Yeah. No, brilliant, brilliant. I think that just makes it so much more interesting, and I think it’s a hugely innovative product. I think you’ve done extremely well to get it this far, and I think just with the right connections and the right contacts. People starting to try it out and realize that it does solve a problem, I think you’re going to do very, very well indeed. Many, many congratulations for coming up with what is a real true innovation. Really, really well done.

Jonathan Parkin:

Thank you. Thanks very much.

Paul Urwin:

Okay, Jonathan. I think that’s pretty much all I wanted to ask you today. How can we find out more about your company and your products? Unless there’s anything else you want to add before, of course, but if you could please share your website, your contact details, so people can find out more about the E-FAB.

Jonathan Parkin:

Yes, thanks Paul. We’ve got a website, which is full of lots of information, www.smarthardhats.co.uk. They can also follow us on Twitter@smarthardhats. Yeah, lots of information out there, lots of contact details for myself and Steve. Online forms, they can contact us through Twitter. Yeah, anybody wants to know anything about the product. We’re still giving away samples, so they better get in quick if they want one.

Yes please, get in touch, let us know what you think, will be brilliant.

Thanks for your time there, Paul.

Paul Urwin:

No, thanks to you Jonathan, and all the very best for the future with E-FAB smarthardhats.co.uk. Thank you very much.

Jonathan Parkin:

Thanks Paul, thank you.

Paul Urwin:

Okay. All the best. Bye-bye.

Jonathan Parkin:

Bye-bye.

Paul Urwin:

I’m Paul Urwin, and I hope you really enjoyed that interview with Jonathan Parkin. A fantastic chat with Jonathan. Of course, it’s smarthardhats.co.uk.

If you want to get in touch with me, you can find me at bigboxcontent.com.

All the best. Bye-bye.