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Regular workwear - 2 min read - May 11, 2022

How to Shift your Purchasing Focus for the Best Protective Workwear

Industries are facing price increases worldwide, and many report that it’s not changing anytime soon. There’s no doubt that the bottom line is important when you’re considering rolling out new protective clothing, but you have to weigh the pros and cons of the cost and the quality of the fabric you’re receiving. 

We’ve noticed an alarming rise in the number of companies awarding protective workwear textile selections to cheaper imported fabrics with questionable quality at the cost of their long-term safety. Although it’s tempting to consider low-cost solutions, it can be dangerous to underestimate protecting your company. Here are some tips to help you navigate how to pick the right price and guarantee high-performing protective workwear. 

1. Don’t take certification at face value

Some fabric producers claim to meet industry standards needed to protect workers, but sometimes, they can certify a fabric sample and produce and commercialize a different fabric; hence their product doesn’t stand up to safety standards in the long run. A wide range of pre-treatment processes can impact test results, not to mention the minimum requirements and margins to meet criteria. Discrepancies can represent catastrophic risks down the road. Imagine a work accident involving high heat, chemical substances, or electrical shock. If a worker isn’t sufficiently protected from exposure, terrible and potentially fatal injuries can ensue.

2. Focus on the price-quality ratio, not price alone

Now is not the time to skimp or cut corners when you're dealing with the safety of your entire organization. While it’s logical to accept the differences in production and labor costs based on location, a huge price difference is likely too good to be true. Don’t let your end decision-maker or purchaser get the upper hand. As a health and safety manager, it's your responsibility to make the price-quality ratio clear to protect the well-being of your workers. 

3. Thoroughly test fabric options before making a decision

When in doubt, put the fabric in question through the wringer! Conducting lab tests can help you understand the difference in quality between fabric options, even when all options comply with standards.

We have state-of-the-art testing facilities at TenCate Protective Fabrics, so it isn’t uncommon for potential customers to ask us to perform a comparative analysis on their top choices. Together we can test for compliance with safety standards, including fabric composition, weight, breathability, moisture management, color retention, and tensile tear strength. When we collaborate with clients, we can make major improvements in terms of safety, comfort, price-quality ratio, and uniformity of clothing, providing superior employee protection to employees in any situation.


4. Stay alert

Our final takeaway is that if a product seems too good to be true, it likely is! Don’t ignore the red flags. Instead, use your common sense and compare apples to apples.

At the end of the day, protective workwear represents an important part of your company’s high safety culture. You might be curious if your protective workwear is sufficiently meeting safety standards, or maybe you’re struggling to critically compare the options you’re encountering in your tender process. Either way, our Safety Specialists are here to help you take your safety compliance to the next level.

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