Andy Smith
MIne-action specialist

Manual demining protection

AVS designs of PPE  

I first designed PPE for demining in the mid 1990s and have been credited by some with inventing the "apron" concept. In fact, the HALO Trust used a simple form of frontal protection before I did, but their design only covered vital areas and was not a broad apron. My goal was to produce something that was cheap, easy to make and as ventilated as possible (for use in very hot climates). I was also concerned to meet the requirements in the International Mine Action Standards, so had to cover a wider area than the minimalist alternatives.

When I turned my attention to frontal protection for demining again (2009 and 2011), the range of aprons available had become very broad. Many of them had become complicated and heavy, including genital and thigh protection but there was no evidence that they prevented injury any better in accidents. In fact, the accident record showed that the minimalist protection used by HALO Trust was often adequate, and that heavy or complicated protection was most likely to be laid aside when supervision was lax. So I designed new aprons that fall in between the full coverage offered by my first simple designs and the smallest, somewhat body armour used in demining (which has not always proven adequate).

In my latest design, I used shaped thigh inserts to make the armour easy to walk in and fastenings that are easy for a deminer to put on without assistance. I made the collar small enough not to inhibit vision (and so be folded backby the deminer) and a small second collar for throat protection.  

See the "Hornet" apron.

My latest visor design is sold as the "Platinum" It is 20% lighter than my earlier "standard visor" and secured with a "comfort" double head-frame (also my design) it offers maximum stability and remarkable comfort compared to any plastic head frame.

Wearers with out-sized heads can move the headframe wings outside the visor face for greater width.

helmet visor

And to complete the range, I also devised a way of making 5mm polycarbonate goggle lenses so that those who do not want a visor at all can meet the IMAS requirements.

All my designs are given freely to anyone prepared to make and market them in a responsible manner. All are currently being made in Zimbabwe.


My 1999 "Mk3" apron design.
The Mk1 and Mk2 are still widely used around the world.

My designs of "stadard" blast visor are the most used in HMA - all being made in Zimbabwe and sold under SD, ROFI and Forceware logos.

Platinum visor

adjustable width

After making a vacuum tank, mounting a Platinum visor face onto a very lightweight vacuum-formed ABS helmet was my last visor innovation. It is a ventilated hard-hat - offering no extra blast protection but it keeps the head cool and protects against non-explosive hazards. The same comfort head-frame fastening sits beneath the helmet.