This blog post, originally published in 2014, was updated in 2023.
Arc-rated and flame resistant (AR / FR) clothing is the last line of defense to protect workers in the event of accidental exposure to arc flash or flash fire hazards. But most companies don’t consider that AR / FR clothing does more than protect your employees; it protects the company as a whole. The cost of one serious burn injury can be significant – often exceeding the cost of an entire AR / FR clothing program.
Knowing what to look for in an AR / FR clothing supplier is vital when sourcing garments to keep your workers safe. Proper protection starts with choosing a supplier with industry knowledge and experience. However, there are additional factors to consider. Evaluating a supplier’s products, experience, and other attributes we’ll identify in this series is essential to ensuring you receive the best overall value out of your AR / FR clothing program.
How Do I Begin the Process of Choosing an AR / FR Clothing Supplier?
First and foremost, an effective protective clothing program must enable workers to select appropriate protective clothing based on the hazard. Therefore, prior to sourcing a supplier, you must complete these preliminary requirements:
- Conduct a hazard assessment to identify the hazards your workers face.
- Review the applicable standards to determine the required level of protection.
Once you’ve identified your company’s specific protective clothing requirements, a reputable AR / FR clothing supplier customizes a program that supports compliance with all applicable safety standards while also addressing employee comfort and the cost and care of the garments. Such a program provides peace of mind. Knowing you can rely on your experienced AR / FR clothing provider to manage the program allows you to focus on other priorities.
In this series, we examine five key evaluations you should conduct when selecting an AR / FR clothing supplier. Follow along as we explore each topic in depth to help you source the best program to keep your workers safe from the hazards they face.
Part 1: How to Evaluate the Experience and Expertise of an AR / FR Clothing Supplier
If your workers need protection, it’s important to know that your budget is respected and enforced. Certain products and programs initially perceived as the “cheapest” or most cost-effective solutions in the short term can cost more in the long run. Learn what to look for when evaluating a supplier’s product mix and closely examine program types and options to determine if their solution provides the best overall value.
Part 2: How to Compare Products and Programs Offered by AR / FR Clothing Suppliers
If your workers need protection, it’s important to know that your budget will be respected and enforced. Understand that products and programs initially perceived as the “cheapest” or most cost-effective solutions in the short term can cost more in the long run. Learn what to look for when evaluating a supplier’s product mix and closely examine program types and options to determine if their solution provides the best overall value.
Part 3: The Importance of AR / FR Clothing Suppliers’ Inventory and Manufacturer Relationships
Not all AR / FR clothing is created equal. Do you know where it comes from, how it’s manufactured, or how the supplier assures quality? Evaluating the breadth of a supplier’s inventory, their manufacturer relationships, and the quality assurance processes they follow allows you to choose the best source for a consistent supply of high-quality clothing in a wide range of sizes and styles.
Part 4: 3 Things to Look for When Signing a Contract with an AR / FR Clothing Supplier
How do you know if you’re getting the best deal from a potential AR / FR clothing supplier? Do you understand all the terms and conditions of the contract you are signing? This post identifies three key provisions commonly found in AR / FR clothing program contracts you should carefully examine to ensure a supplier’s products and services meet your expectations.
Part 5: How an AR / FR Clothing Supplier Manages Your Program Can Impact Its Success
A well-managed clothing program saves both you and your personnel time! A supplier focused on service can implement and efficiently manage a smooth-running program by providing dedicated support for every level of your organization for the life of the contract. The supplier you choose should also offer training tools to educate employees on the importance of wearing protective clothing, best practices for its use and care, and more.
Implementing an AR / FR clothing program can be complex, and your employees trust these products with their lives. The protection afforded by AR / FR clothing is too important to risk a mistake when choosing your supplier.
Not sure where to start? Tyndale is here to help, and we make it easy. Reach out to the National Account Executive in your region, who can help you evaluate these key considerations and answer your questions to simplify your supplier selection and implementation process.