3M has announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Capital Safety -- a leading global provider of fall protection equipment, one of the fastest-growing safety categories within the global personal protective equipment industry.

According to a statement released by 3M:

The personal protective equipment industry is a strategic priority for 3M. Demand for personal protective equipment is rapidly growing, driven by increasing regulatory focus on worker safety across both developed and developing countries.

Capital Safety’s industry-leading products and solutions include harnesses, lanyards, self-retracting lifelines and engineered systems sold under well-known global brands DBI-SALA and PROTECTA. The company has demonstrated strong and consistent growth with sales increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 10 percent over the past four years. The company’s sales, adjusted to include recent acquisitions on a full-year basis, were approximately $430 million for its fiscal year ended March 31, 2015.

3M’s Personal Safety business, part of 3M’s Safety and Graphics Business Group, is a global provider of respiratory and hearing protection solutions that help improve the safety and security of workers. The business also supplies products and solutions in other safety categories such as reflective materials for high-visibility apparel, protective clothing and eyewear, among others.

“Personal safety is a large and strategically important growth business in the 3M portfolio,” said Inge G. Thulin, 3M chairman, president and chief executive officer. “The acquisition of Capital Safety bolsters our personal safety platform and will build on our fundamental strengths in technology, manufacturing, global capabilities and brand.”

Sanjiv Bhaskar called the acquisition “a big move in the right direction.” Bhaskar is VP of Research, Personal Protective Equipment Practice for Frost & Sullivan, a growth partnership company based in Mountain View, California. “This makes them a global leader in fall protection, a fast growing segment in the PPE Industry. This could also place them firmly in the top bracket of the Global PPE Industry. In addition, proximity of one of Capital Safety's manufacturing facilities to 3M (Both located in Minnesota) could help in a faster integration.”

Capital Safety employs approximately 1,500 people worldwide and is headquartered in Bloomington, Minn.