As with almost everything consumers purchase, there is the chance that you might not receive what you request and pay for and safety gear such as PPE & Workwear used by you or your staff is no exception.
Dromex is one of many reputable PPE & Workwear providers in South Africa and whether you’ve been buying from the same supplier for a few years or you’re buying from a new one, it’s good to check on the quality you’re receiving.
We’re here to guide you with some helpful hints that will hopefully help you make the right choice by asking the right questions before you purchase and how to check what you receive.
Workwear can be purchased for a few reasons
1) General Wear: employers often purchase entry-level garments so that staff don’t damage their clothes. These are often for low-risk industries such as gardening, warehousing etc. Preferences for these industries lean towards 80/20 Poly Cotton, 65/35 Polycotton & J54 100% Cotton Conti Suits and are generally based on budget, i.e. an 80/20 Polycotton Conti Suit is cheaper than a J54 100% cotton Conti Suit which is more expensive but more breathable & comfortable due to the cotton content.
2) Hazard Specific Protection: this workwear is bought to protect the user from an incident that will cause them bodily harm e.g. Petro Chemical, Electric Arc Flash, Mining, Fire, Chemicals, etc where Flame Acid, Arc Suits, J54, Nomex & Poly Viscose suits are required. This workwear is often governed by specific standards such as SABS, SANS, ISO & NFPA in the case of fire garments. For hazardous industries we offer a complimentary PPE Assessment to ensure the correct PPE & Workwear is used and safety requirements are met.
When requesting quotes for safety wear always try to be as precise as possible and include the following information:
Including the above information will assist the supplier with providing you pricing that is accurate and workwear correctly required for your usage.
A SABS fit workwear garment from your chosen supplier could have different sizing in comparison to a branded in-house fit which could also be different to an eco/budget fit garment, which is commercially acceptable. Ask your workwear supplier for a size chart pertaining to the specific garment and match with the wearer’s measurements to make sure the garment is a suitable fit. It’s important to note that under-sized PPE & workwear is uncomfortable for the wearer and can also be dangerous if it’s too big should there be the possibility of getting caught in machinery.
In the case where you or your customer require products with specific standards, ask for the certifications from the supplier. Entry-level workwear garments such as an 80/20 Poly Cotton Conti Suit won’t have a certification however when there is a specific requirement such as a 65/35 Poly Cotton or J54 100% Cotton Conti Suit then insist on a fabric certification document. Likewise, using PPE that has been approved EN standards is always the best way to ensure quality safety protection and the supplier should be able to provide you with the applicable certificates.
The check: when you receive your workwear check the label in the jacket. If you have specifically requested a 65/35 Poly Cotton Conti Suit and the label simply says “Poly Cotton” there is a chance it has been made with 80/20 Poly Cotton and not 65/35 Poly Cotton, which you’ve most likely been quoted on and paid for so revert to your supplier to verify from a test report.
For all other PPE items, check the stamp on the item and ensure you see the appropriate EN Standard printed on the item. An example of this is EN 166 for eyewear.
You’ve requested a price for the same SABS D59 Flame Acid Boiler Suit from different companies but the pricing you’ve received from them couldn’t be more different. Don’t just buy the cheapest one to save money – there are a few possibilities.
It could simply be a clerical error, which is easily resolved with a phone call or email.
There is a possibility that the cheaper garment is marketed as a Flame Acid suit however the fabric is uncertified and hasn’t been produced at a SABS facility. Both standards are regulated so request the relevant certifications from both suppliers.
When purchasing workwear with flame retardant properties, ensure that the Reflective Tape is also flame retardant. Standard reflective tape is cheaper, which can account for a price difference between garments but risking your employee’s safety just isn’t worth it.
If the tape is flame retardant, your supplier should be able to supply you with a copy of its certification.
Make sure to buy PPE and workwear that helps keep you safe.
This article was sourced from Dromex.