Newest model of HALO removes battery pack tether and brings more mobility for workers


Sometimes a contractor can’t avoid night work. If the job is along a busy roadway, it’s the only way to prevent major delays during peak travel periods.

While crews wear high-visibility safety vests that reflect the headlights of passing motorists, safety is still a concern.

“With safety vests, you’re often not lit up until a motorist’s headlights hit you,” says Andrew Royal, president and chief product officer for Illumagear. “We’re trying to make people safer. We’re trying to make the work area more lit so they can see what they are doing and so other people can see them.”

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BRINGING LIGHT TO THE SITUATION

Illumagear is doing this with the second generation of its HALO. The HALO looks like a ring of plastic with LED lights circling it, weighs 10 ounces and is visible from about a quarter-mile away.

“It fits on any hard hat, so it doesn’t matter if it’s cap style or full-brim and it doesn’t matter who the manufacturer is,” Royal says. “We’ve scanned a majority of the top hard hats out there in the market to make sure we come up with a design that works with all of them.”

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The device uses spring-tension clips to secure it to the hard hat, working like a Chinese finger trap where the more it is pressed down, the harder it is to remove.

“It’s important that it stays on the hard hat, but at the same time it’s also important we don’t invalidate the ANSI rating,” Royal says.

The ANSI rating states that nothing may be permanently affixed or attached to the hard hat otherwise it will invalidate it.

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“So when we came up with this design, we made sure that that wouldn’t happen. It will slide off with the right motion,” he says.

CHANGES FROM VERSION 1

Seattle-based Illumagear launched its first version of the HALO in 2014. That unit was heavier and had a bulky corded battery pack. The HALO would still attach to the hard hat, but a cord would go from the back of the HALO down to a battery pack on the worker’s belt. With the new version, the battery is built right into the HALO device, eliminating the cord. “Without the cord, there’s nothing to catch on, you just put it on your hard hat and toss it in your truck,” Royal says.

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The unit offers approximately 5 1/2 hours of run time at full power. It still has single-button functionality with the same four light modes as the original: Halo, HI-Alert, Task and Dim.

The Halo mode puts out 276 lumens in 360 degrees. HI-Alert mode still has all of the lights on, but they rotate around the hard hat. Task mode is when most of the power is pushed to the front so that a contractor can see what they are working on. Dim mode is for when people come to talk to the worker.

DURABLE RING OF LIGHT

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The diffused LED light ring, made of PC ABS plastic, is IP67 rated against dust, dirt and water.

“We put it through five tests,” Royal says. “Think of it as the extremes of the normal work conditions.”

The HALO was dropped in and encased in mud, pulled out and washed off. It was then set in a pan of water for over a minute, crushed by a large toolbox twice, and driven over while sitting on gravel. The final test had the unit dropped 25 feet from a scissor lift onto concrete.

“After all these tests, the same HALO is still working,” Royal says.

BRIGHT FUTURE AHEAD

Royal views site safety beyond the products Illumagear manufacturers. He knows it’s going to take cooperation and creative thinking industry wide to make things safer for workers. A future step the company is looking at is connectivity.

“I think there’s a lot of different things we can do to connect the job site and not just us,” Royal says. “We see other companies doing things in regard to GPS tracking, monitoring of proximity to danger and things like that. We want to be a part of that.”

Overall, the goal for Illumagear’s HALO is to make sure workers get home safely.

“We look at the product as having a dual value proposition, which is ‘see’ and ‘be seen,’” Royal says. “‘Be seen is first and foremost for everything we do as a company. It’s about making sure people get home to their families. We have crane operators tell us they can finally see the guys down below. It’s critical that people see you because, unfortunately, every day two people are dying on job sites in the U.S.”

Read more about wearable technology in the September/October issue of Dig Different.

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Read more about tracking workers with Redpoint Positioning.


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