13 Sep 2021

Safety leaders are often focused solely on which hearing protection is best. Some safety managers choose hearing protection based exclusively on the product’s Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). The NRR is important, but it’s also critical to remember that the best hearing protection is the protection workers will wear consistently.

The Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute for Occupational Safety Hazards have uncovered these striking occupational hearing loss statistics:

  • About 25% of all workers have been exposed to hazardous noise, with 14% (22 million) exposed in the last year.
  • 34% of noise-exposed workers report not wearing hearing protection.
  • Approximately 12% of all workers have hearing difficulty.
  • About 8% of all workers have tinnitus.
  • About 16% of noise-exposed tested workers have a material hearing impairment that impacts day-to-day activities.
  • 13% of noise-exposed tested workers have hearing impairment in both ears.

Regardless of the NRR or type of hearing protection your company uses, convenience will keep workers wearing hearing protection consistently — availability is vital. Moldex makes it easy to achieve high availability for your workers to keep them safe from noise hazards. Visit our Knowledge Center for information on how Moldex products are designed to make it easy for your workers to protect their hearing. 

Boosting Compliance Through High Availability of Hearing Protection

Convenience drives compliance. How much effort do your workers have to put into obtaining hearing protection? Having supplies readily available in work areas makes it easy for them to comply with safety guidelines and protect their hearing. Going to the safety manager’s or supervisor’s office or filling out a requisition form will not.

To encourage compliance through high visibility and availability:

  • Place earplug dispensers in all work areas and break rooms.
  • Put up posters or signs to remind workers to get earplugs when they enter a noisy area.
  • Ensure employees understand where and how to access hearing protection when you first fit them and again during annual training.

Moldex Hearing Protection Dispensers

Quest Safety Products partners with Moldex, a leader in hearing protection products. Moldex hearing protection dispensers are cost-effective to place anywhere in the facility — near workstations, outside restrooms, and in break rooms — to keep hearing protection top of mind with workers and make it easy for them to get the earplugs they need. 

Brackets make them even easier to install so you can save time as well as money. The plastic brackets screw into fixed stands or walls, while the magnetic brackets can go on vending machines, metal cabinets, and other metal surfaces.

Unlike competitors, the Moldex dispensers are sealed to ensure the earplugs stay clean and sanitary. Just place a hand under the dispenser and the earplugs drop straight into the palm, minimizing touchpoints and eliminating trays collecting dust and contaminants.

Not only can these dispensers boost compliance by making earplugs quickly and easily accessible, but they can also save you money. For example, employees can take only one pair at a time, so there is no wasteful grabbing of handfuls.

Moldex also offers one of the widest selections of earplug shapes, colors, sizes, and NRR ratings of any manufacturer in the world. This variety helps to aid in compliance with OSHA 1910.95(i)(3), which requires that employees be allowed to select their hearing protection from a variety of suitable options.

Moldex manufactures all products in the USA. With over 70 patents, they have a strong history of perpetual innovation, and all Moldex products and packaging are PVC-Free.

PlugStation

The Moldex PlugStation is the most popular earplug dispenser on the market. There are three options to provide the perfect solution for your needs:

Uncorded PlugStations: the most popular option, these dispensers offer an earplug style and fit for everyone.

Corded PlugStations: the first and only packaged corded dispenser on the market.

Packaged Uncorded: perfect for when you need packaged earplugs, no strings attached.

EcoStation Earplug Dispensers

The Moldex EcoStation dispenser can also help you reach your environmental goals. All of these EcoStation products feature a snap-in refill that can be changed in seconds, and the empty bottles are 100% recyclable.

This option is more economical to help lower hearing protection program costs, and the snap-in refill offers the fastest and easiest changeover available. The sealed refill also helps prevent contamination.

TouchFree EcoStation

With the TouchFree version, you place your hand under the automatic dispenser and a pair of earplugs will drop right into your palm. As a result, you can eliminate touchpoints and create a greener, cleaner workplace for all. Check out this video to learn more about the TouchFree EcoStation.

EcoStation Copper

The EcoStation Copper dispenser handle features a CuVerro® copper surface that, when cleaned regularly, continuously kills bacteria left behind by dirty hands, killing more than 99.9% of bacteria* within two hours.

Plastic Bracket

Moldex plastic brackets allow you to hang earplug dispensers throughout a facility in seconds to make it easier for employees to access hearing protection quickly. Plus, they are 100% PVC-Free.

Magnetic Bracket

Moldex magnetic brackets are the first of their kind and fully compatible with all PlugStations and EcoStations. You can hang them almost anywhere, from vending machines to lockers, metal cabinets, and more.

Moldex Hearing Protection Canisters

Hearing protection canisters go anywhere workers need them to, whether it’s the glove box or console of a work truck, in a locker or toolbox, or on a desk. With Moldex canisters, team members can have a personal supply of earplugs, which is especially useful for remote workers or those in the field. Canisters are available for:

  • Softies
  • SparkPlugs
  • Glide Foam
  • Camo Plugs
  • Glide Camo Foam

Leaders in Hearing Protection Safety

NRR ratings must be adequate to protect workers against noise exposure, but research shows that additional factors like convenience and availability are also essential to ensure compliance. Quest Safety Products is always up-to-date with the latest safety requirements and products available to provide you with hearing protection solutions suitable to your facility’s unique needs.

We’ve found that Moldex is a leader in providing customers with hearing protection tested to the highest safety standards and designed with convenience and availability in mind — so you can ensure workers don’t just have to wear protection, but want to. Contact your territory manager or click here to visit our knowledge center to learn more about Moldex earplug dispensers, canisters, and brackets, as well as find out how to get free samples.

03 Sep 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted every aspect of life in 2020, with supply chain problems becoming a primary challenge for businesses across the globe. Interos, an AI-powered risk management platform, conducted a study in October 2020. They found that “more than 90% of companies expect the disruption of global supply chains caused by the pandemic will have long-lasting effects on their businesses, and nearly 98% of senior decision-makers in the United States alone believe that their organization’s supply chain has already been disrupted.” 

The senior decision-makers included in the study noted challenges with demand reduction, shortages, price swings, and various other issues across their supply chains courtesy of COVID-19. Moreover, of the 450 senior-level personnel, 90% feared that these issues would continue with future waves of infection.

Today, the primary change is that companies are now experiencing higher demand in addition to all of the other issues. Moreover, we now know that these challenges won’t be going away any time soon. So now is the time for businesses to focus on building resilience into every aspect of their value chains.

It’s no secret that, right now, supply chains are a mess regardless of the pandemic. Businesses have seen nearly every disruption possible, from container shortages to bad weather and even a blockage in the Suez Canal. The way companies have managed to persevere and deliver to customers despite these issues is nothing short of inspirational. But, for many, it was an uphill battle every step of the way. Now Delta is adding more variation in an already volatile mix of circumstances, and these imbalances are expected to continue for another year at minimum.

Luckily, experts at PwC, Deloitte, The Wall Street Journal, and Supply Chain Consultants have been studying and working to uncover reliable ways to manage these ongoing disruptions effectively. It’s up to individual businesses to determine the right mix of resilience to build into their strategies, but all should focus on building it comprehensively into all areas of the company to minimize volatility.

Quest has put together an eBook outlining these recommendations to help you regain more control over your value chain. For example, resetting operations with greater digital capabilities and renewing logistics operating models can improve efficiency and effectiveness. Check out the eBook for more detailed information on how to boost your supply chain’s resilience despite persistent industry disruptions.

13 Aug 2021

Quest Safety Products just celebrated their 25th anniversary in business. Their growth over the years to become one of the premier safety equipment manufacturers and distributors in the midwest has recently landed them in a brand new building. But this growth didn’t happen overnight and they didn’t do it alone. It has been through a variety of strategic partnerships, a commitment to exceeding customers’ expectations, and finding creative solutions to their customers’ problems.

One of the reasons Quest has been so successful is due to their strategic decision to be a part of the AD SafetyNetwork. What was once a buying group known as SafetyNetwork, they recently merged with AD, to create the AD SafetyNetwork. This merger further strengthened the position of independent safety distributors in the market. AD SafetyNetwork exists to help independent distributors compete by leveraging their group’s buying power and ability to help companies scale through many benefits. Quest customers are often on the receiving end of those benefits and allows Quest to provide the service and experience their customers have come to expect.

Competitive Pricing

AD SafetyNetwork’s membership exceeds 850 members in three countries across nine different verticals which creates a $45B buying network. This gives AD SafetyNetwork immense buying power that rivals some of the largest manufacturers and distributors in the world, allowing AD SafetyNetwork to negotiate higher discounts than individual companies could hope to obtain on their own. Additionally, they are able to negotiate group incentives and exclusive promotions from suppliers and manufacturers. The end result is competitive pricing and savings for Quest customers.

Visibility into Supply Chains

If the COVID-19 pandemic taught businesses anything, it was that disruption can happen at any moment. Having a partner that has a pulse on the demands of the supply chain is one way to mitigate the problems and frustration often experienced when customers can’t get their hands on products they need to be successful. The relationships, partnerships, and industry data gained from AD SafetyNetwork helps Quest to report potential issues to customers before they can negatively impact the safety of employees. Decision-makers and manufacturers that foster frequent and transparent communication have better outcomes. 

Speed to Market

Along with helping to resolve supply chain disruptions, AD SafetyNetwork membership allows products to be brought to market quickly through the help of the supplier network and ability to access materials needed to produce and manufacture safety equipment. Industry-leading suppliers are a critical component of the AD SafetyNetwork network and without them, customers would experience delays in receiving products or a lack of materials needed to produce them. 

Best-in-Class Training & Certifications

This strategic network also allows for exclusive and unfiltered access to some of the top manufacturers to get training and information straight from the source. This makes Quest employees some of the most knowledgeable in the industry and can help customers make the best buying decisions based on their unique safety needs. In addition, their Safety Equipment Expert (SEE) certification includes a comprehensive 150 hours of training to become certified. The ongoing education and training required of this certification assures customers are getting the most up-to-date and critical information on the regulations and applications of each safety product category and the ever-evolving safety industry needs.

Solution-based Approach

Quest has built a solid business based on exceeding customer expectations. Their relationships with customers and the level of transparency they share allows them to learn about the specific challenges a customer faces in order to solve them. Quest has designed and manufactured products based specifically on a customer’s challenge. This solution-based approach is made possible through the connections they have developed over the years through the AD SafetyNetwork network. It affords Quest access to partners, materials, parts, and engineering that can help develop and enhance specific products.

These strategic partnerships are just one initiative that has been a part of the success that Quest achieved, but with the customer in mind. Their team is committed to providing best-in-class solutions at competitive pricing, staying on top of evolving supply chains, educating safety professionals on the products they use, and reinforcing safety cultures with best practice solutions. If you are looking for assistance with your safety needs, Quest can help — contact us today.

28 Jul 2021

A strong respiratory protection program is essential for all companies that have workers potentially impacted by respiratory hazards.  OSHA 29 CFR 1910.134 requires that a well-trained program administrator lead, document, and enforce such a program. Are your safety managers up-to-date on the latest guidelines to effectively recognize, evaluate, and control employee exposure to hazards in the workplace? Are your written guidelines and training procedures up to date? We have a helpful solution with great resources.

3M Helps Customers Create a Strong Respiratory Program

Quest Safety Products is an authorized reseller of 3M, a leading manufacturer of respiratory products, among other safety equipment. As a partner in providing the best equipment for the job at hand, we would like to point you to 3M’s Center for Respiratory Protection. This impressive resource provides step-by-step tools, checklists, and templates to help ensure your safety programs achieve their respiratory safety goals. On the website you will find.

  1. Exposure Assessment: Provides a chart, video, and thorough step-by-step instructions to walk you through exposure assessment.
  2. Written Program: You can download a checklist to help ensure your written program is complete.
  3. Respirator Selection: Provides an Overview of Respiratory Equipment Types, Video, and a Respirator Selection Guide with key information on choosing your equipment. They also include a link to their Select and Service Life software that will walk you through the Contaminants and Cartridge/Filter selection. It will then help you to establish an effective gas/vapor cartridge change out schedule.
  4. Medical Evaluation: In addition to laying out the facts around the OSHA mandated medical evaluation and the paperwork requirements, 3M offers an online medical evaluation program that meets the OSHA criteria.
  5. Fit Testing: This section details the Qualitative Fit Test and the Quantitative Fit Test with protocols, quick reference guides, videos, and paperwork you can download for record keeping. Quest sells the items required to conduct fit testing. 
  6. Training & Maintenance: Find details on what OSHA requires in annual respiratory training and download 3M’s Administrative Respiratory Protection Program brochure can help you make sure you have the correct materials.

Quest Safety Products Can Help Navigate the Many Options

At Quest Safety Products, we are always up-to-date with the latest requirements so we can provide you with respiratory protection solutions that suit your facility’s unique needs. If you are looking for assistance in navigating your respiratory protection program requirements or just selecting the right environmental safety products to keep your teams safe, Quest can help — contact us today.

 

16 Jul 2021

Ensuring you have the critical supplies needed to keep your operation running smoothly can be a complicated and costly process. Some suppliers can’t guarantee they will have the required quantity you need when you need it. There are ways to ensure you have the supplies you need without investing in additional warehouse space and employees to manage the process. 

With 20+ years of experience working with pharmaceutical and life science companies, Quest Safety Products has built an effective process to meet critical supply needs without the costly overhead. We are currently doing this for a number of Fortune 500 pharmaceutical companies, enabling them to reinvest the money they’d normally spend on warehouse space and additional inventory back into their core business. 

Download our eBook to get an inside look at the steps we take to manage the supply chain for our customers’ critical products. We’ve also included two case studies that highlight how our unique approach works and the benefits provided to our customers. 

Download the eBook 

If you would like to learn more about our supply chain process or discuss possible solutions for your company, please reach out to Mark Towner, our VP of Sales.

16 Jul 2021

How Linemen Can Stay Safe on the Job

Utility work can be full of hazards. Linemen risk falls, electric shocks, burns, and other injuries while on the job every day. Minimizing these risks for workers is critical. That’s why electrical safety equipment like arc flash apparel is crucial.

What Are the Risks of Electrical Line Work?

Electrical line utility workers face some of the most dangerous tasks in the industry. Workers need to fully understand these hazards not only to ensure their own protection, but also the safety of those around them. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, risks include:

  • Electrocution
  • Falls
  • Confined spaces
  • Fires and explosions
  • Sprains, strains, and fractures
  • Environmental stress

Even linemen with decades of experience must remain cognizant of these risks to ensure they are taking appropriate safety measures — like using proper electrical safety equipment.

How Can Electrical Linemen Stay Safe on the Job?

While utility work is dangerous, there are ways to protect yourself and others from the injuries and hazards listed above. The following are just some of the safety best practices linemen can follow. For more information on linemen safety, review OSHA’s Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution Industry safety guidelines.

Wear proper electrical safety equipment.

The use of proper electrical safety equipment is one of the most important safety steps linemen can take. In the event of an incident, a helmet, gloves, shoes, and clothing will provide an extra layer of protection against falling objects or electrical shock.

Use tools appropriately.

Linemen should never use a tool they are not familiar with and should always practice proper tool safety, such as visually inspecting all equipment before use and replacing anything visibly damaged. Utility company managers might consider holding training sessions to keep workers up to date on these safety best practices.

Always work in teams.

Linemen often work in groups, but that doesn’t mean they are working as a team. Linemen should ensure that they and their fellow crew members communicate with each other and look out for one another’s safety.

Stay aware of surroundings.

When working on the line, even a slight movement can lead to an accident. Electricity can arc over to an object through the air. You don’t even have to touch a line with a conductive object — simply having it within inches of the line and then backing away can create an electrical arc several feet wide, which can cause significant injury. Therefore, linemen should move mindfully and be aware of the tools around them.

Take the time to do the job safely.

Accidents often occur when workers try to rush a job. Even experienced electrical line workers must work slowly and use proper technique, which will also ensure the job is done properly.

How Arc Flash Apparel Helps Linemen Stay Safe

Linemen must always wear insulative protective equipment to protect themselves against electrical shock. Some of the protective equipment available includes ground cables, grounding clusters, arc flash apparel, dielectric insulated boots, hard hats, and face shields. 

Manufacturers of arc flash apparel typically make boots, gloves, and sleeves from insulated rubber that protects against electrical shock. Rubber safety equipment keeps power lineman safe from electrical hazards on the job. This equipment should be inspected prior to each use for wear, damage, or contamination. They come in multiple classes determined by the level of protection they provide. Hard hats and face shields are also essential protection against falling objects and other debris.  

Linemen often perform tasks on de-energized equipment which is locked out and tagged out while remaining within the shock boundary and near to other live equipment. In this case, a worker could accidentally lose control of a tool that could then contact live parts. If the worker is using non-insulated hand tools, in addition to a shock hazard, a phase-over and an arc flash could happen. As a result, the worker could be exposed to injury, and the nearby equipment could take damage that results in expensive repairs, replacement, or downtime.

Tools with plastic coatings or plastic handles are not suitable when live circuits are close to the task at hand. Therefore, any work in close proximity to energized equipment should only be done using insulated tools with the double-triangle official international “Suitable for live working” symbol, a marking that identifies tools as safe for energized work. This symbol must be marked on all truly insulated hand tools. 

These insulated hand tools have a maximum use rating of 1,000VAC and are dielectrically tested at 10,000VAC, equating to a safety margin factor of 10. These tools should meet current ASTM F1505 and IEC 60903 standards for insulated hand tools and are useful for compliance with the CSA Z462-15 standard.

Arc Flash Apparel and Other Electrical Safety Equipment from Quest

At Quest Safety Products, we are always up-to-date with the latest requirements so we can provide you with electrical safety equipment that suits your unique needs. To help you keep your electrical linemen safe, Quest offers a full range of electrical safety equipment from all the major manufacturers:

If you are looking for assistance with electrical safety, Quest can help — contact us today.

21 Jun 2021

Indianapolis, Ind., June 14, 2021 – Quest Safety Products announced the  opening of a new facility in the Park Fletcher Industrial Park, developed to offer customers stronger supply chain options.

 Quest has a strong economic commitment to Indianapolis through its $5.5 million investment of the new 60,000 sq. ft. facility. By building in a historically underutilized business zone – or HUBZone – Quest brings meaningful investment to the community. 90% of new hires will be primarily from the HUBZone with a planned 56% increase in its workforce. Half those positions will receive wages and benefits equivalent to $28 an hour. 

“Indianapolis remains a top city to grow a business and attract high-quality talent,” said Joe Hogsett, Mayor of Indianapolis. “This is an exciting announcement, and we celebrate the investment by a Minority Business Enterprise in a local HUBZone. We’re proud that Quest Safety Products has chosen Indianapolis as its headquarters, and we look forward to their continued success.”

During 2020, the pandemic posed significant challenges due to broken supply chains for customers. With an already established, robust supply chain, Quest was able to mitigate supply chain issues for their customers, through its own distribution network. Customers have responded favorably to Quest reliably meeting increased demand. This demand, however, required more space for storage and distribution operations supporting the 62% growth it has experienced this year. The building will also allow Quest to achieve next day delivery to 70% of the US, as it’s located next to key transportation hubs.

With over two decades of experience, the organization has developed a deep understanding of needs in the pharmaceutical, nuclear, construction, environmental, and utility industries. Extensive training has made the Quest team experts in these industries and the hazards involved.

“Despite industry shortages, we have reliably sourced high-quality PPE alternatives to mitigate supply chain outages for new and existing customers and our commitment to them is unwavering,” said Sam Yadav, President of Quest.

Customers have relied heavily on the Quest team to manage this year’s supply chain challenges, by demonstrating how a small, quality and diverse supplier provides agile services with increased value and cost savings; vital to any organization’s success, particularly in these challenging times. 

About Quest Safety Products

Quest Safety Products is a full line distributor of safety and environmental abatement products as well as a manufacturer of disposable protective apparel. We are a focused and driven team, committed to helping our customers protect their people, products, and facilities. Quest is a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and Small Business Administration (SBA) certified HUBZone business. Learn how Quest solves problems and delivers solutions at www.shopquestsafety.com.

11 Jun 2021

High visibility clothing is apparel with highly reflective properties that help workers stay visible against any background and in any lighting condition—even in the middle of the night. These garments are popular among jobs like highway and railroad construction workers, construction tradespeople, airport workers, trash and recycling collectors, landscaping professionals, warehouse workers, first responders, and many others. 

Although this type of clothing applies to various industries, most of them have one thing in common: the workers are frequently in contact with large vehicles. For this reason, it is crucial that employees can be seen at any point during their shift. If you own or operate businesses in any of these industries, making your employees visible is imperative for their safety. But when it comes to choosing the right clothing for your workers, the selection process can be tricky. It is vital to get up to speed on the latest requirements, and ANSI recently released new updates to the standards for high visibility clothing

Overview of ANSI Standards for High Visibility Clothing

The American National Standards Institute (or the ANSI) provides vivid and consistent guidelines for selecting and using high visibility clothing in the United States. 

ANSI 107-2010 was a standard for construction, emergency responders, utility, airport ramp personnel, and anyone else who routinely works in low visibility areas. 

The standard is revised approximately every 5 years. The last major update, in 2015, created the current high visibility apparel types:

  • Type O (Off-Road)
    • Workers who can be exposed to traffic at or below 25 mph.
  • Type R (Roadway)
    • Workers who are exposed to highway traffic and working against complex backgrounds in daytime and nighttime environments.
  • Type P (Public Safety)
    • Emergency/incident responders and law enforcement in both roadway and off-road environments.

These types are further organized into classes based on worker hazards and tasks, the complexity of the job site’s background, and vehicular traffic and speed:

  • Performance Class 1 (Type O Only)
    • This class provides the minimum amount of high visibility materials required for workers who aren’t required to come into “considerable contact” with large vehicles traveling over 25 mph.

  • Performance Class 2 (Type R & Type P)
    • Provides for the use of additional high visibility materials for workers who require greater visibility in poor weather conditions or find themselves near roadways and areas with high traffic traveling between 25-50 mph.

  • Performance Class 3 (Type R & Type P)
    • Provides the highest level of visibility reserved for workers in high-risk environments that involve high task loads, a wide range of weather conditions, and areas with heavy traffic traveling over 50 mph.

  • Supplemental Class E
    • Includes pants, bib overalls, shorts, and gaiters, which are not compliant when worn alone. When combined with Class 2 or Class 3 apparel, the combination satisfies Class 3 requirements.

What’s New in ANSI/ISEA 107-2020

The latest updates cover 5 main areas of the ANSI standard for high visibility clothing:

  1. Elimination of Criteria within the Accessories Category.
      • While workers are still encouraged to wear high visibility accessories on the job to increase biomotion, ANSI/ISEA 107-2020 no longer includes criteria for this category.
  2. New requirements for single-use disposable coveralls.
      • Because they have become more popular, ANSI/ISEA 107-2020 applies to single-use disposable coveralls the same minimum material amounts and requirements imposed on all compliant high visibility clothing.
      • In addition, all single-use coveralls must include the following on product tags:
        • This garment meets the single-use disposable coverall requirements of ANSI/ISEA 107-2020, Section 11.
        • SINGLE-USE ONLY.
        • DO NOT REMOVE THIS LABEL
  3. Elimination of maximum wash cycles on care labels.
      • The previous standard required that care labels list a maximum number of wash cycles to indicate the lifespan of the garment’s reflective tape.
      • The maximum wash cycle label requirement has been eliminated to avoid confusion about wear and tear on the apparel that might call for the garment to be retired before meeting the maximum number of wash cycles.
  4. New testing requirements for segmented reflective tape.
      • Segmented and perforated retroreflective tape has also become more popular, so the new standard includes additional testing requirements to establish the retroreflectivity of the background material.
      • This was done to discourage manufacturers from overstating the brightness of a garment’s reflective tape.
  5. Minor changes to the ANSI-107 tag.
    • The year 2015 will be replaced by 2020.
    • If a garment is not flame-resistant, the label must include the statement “This garment is not flame resistant as defined by ANSI/ISEA 107-2020.”

There are additional changes contained in the latest ANSI-107 guidelines. Click here to learn more from the ANSI Blog. Access a copy of the full standard here.

Find the Best High Visibility Gear for Your Crew

Safety regulations and procedures are not to be taken lightly in any industry, let alone those that regularly require interaction with large vehicles. Quest Safety Products only supplies high visibility garments from ANSI-compliant manufacturers like PIP, Radians, MCR Safety, and others. And since compliance on safety gear can vary from industry to industry, Quest Safety Products will find the best high visibility clothing for your specific needs. You can turn to us to ensure you meet all standards so you can focus on what your organization does best.

Partner with Quest

04 Jun 2021

COVID-19 underscored the global supply chain’s fragile nature and the need to develop a more resilient infrastructure to avoid critical shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE),sanitizers, ventilators, drugs and other products.

  • Many factories closed temporarily, this is now continuing as COVID outbreaks persist.
  • A large numbers of containers, estimated to be as high as 60%, were stranded in-transit, made worse with a reduction in ships-at-sea. This is staggering as the China to USA trade route uses on average 900,000 containers per month.
  • Asian nations declared lockdowns and stopped exports to ensure their own supply.
  • Combined with the shortage of containers is the doubling of lead times to 6-9 months for many items.
  • JIT inventory holding made the problems even worse.
  • New manufacturers could not scale-up quickly and many did not have the experience needed to make quality PPE.

Rising Container Cost & Extended Lead Times

Reviving the extended supply chains from Asia, especially China, is taking time and it is evident that the transpacific volume from Asia headed stateside is not slowing (according to Descartes Datamyne). The single biggest factor appears to be stranded containers from various lockdowns and governmental restrictions. Freight shipping is in the midst of a unique and unusual predicament that includes soaring demand, saturated ports, and too few available ships, dockworkers and truckers. No short-term fixes are in sight.


Container costs are already up over 2x pre-COVID and are expected to rise further. This is resulting in price increases. A fully loaded container from China to the USA was just below $6000 pre-COVID. It is rising to nearly $14000. To make matters worse, the lead time for some imports has more than doubled, going to 6-9 months.

Supply is Constrained

The supply situation is made severe by the heightened demand from the Health Care segment. Some
key findings by Becker’s Hospital Review are:
Disposable gloves

  • Availability of exam gloves is expected to be constrained into 2023.
  • Global demand for nitrile exam gloves exceeds production capacity by about 215 billion units, or about 40 percent.
  • Shortages have been exacerbated by raw material scarcity, port closures and delays, and a twofold increase in usage since June 2020.
  • Spending on Gloves rose 250 percent between November 2020 and March 2021.

N95 masks 

  • As COVID-19 cases drove a surge in demand for N95 masks during the first wave of the pandemic.  One year later, the N95 market is still constrained, but not in active shortage.
  • 3M has dramatically increased production.

Surgical & isolation masks 

  • Usage of surgical and isolation masks tripled between June 2020 and March 2021.
  • By February 2021, surgical mask spend was about 100 percent higher than February 2020. 

Protective Clothing

  • When manufacturers began prioritizing N95s and other masks, isolation gown supply compressed.
  • Isolation gowns surpassed N95 masks as the top PPE shortage concern by mid-April 2020, with 74 percent of health systems saying gowns were their top concern.
  • Gown purchasing was up about 100 percent in February and March this year compared to February 2020. 

Costs Still Well Above Pre-COVID Levels

There were exponential cost increases in PPE last year, especially on products going to the Health Care segment like gloves, gowns and masks.

Some have rolled back, but many are still well above pre-COVID levels. Nitrile gloves, in particular, are still nearly 70% above 2019 and expected to potentially increase further (as forecasted by Ansell in a May 20201 Market Updated). Fact.MR summed it as: “Sky-high demand for nitrile disposable gloves from the medical sector is aiding manufacturers, while initiatives undertaken by private and government organizations are spurring the growth of the market”. Protective clothing (+17%) and shoe covers (+15%) are still high. N95 masks have fallen back with the dramatic increase in manufacturing by 3M.

The World Health Organization has warned that “severe and mounting disruption to the global supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) – caused by rising demand, panic buying, hoarding and misuse – is putting lives at risk from the new coronavirus outbreaks and other infectious diseases”.

Be Careful with Alternate Sources

Many new manufactures emerged in 2020 – especially those with capabilities to manufacture similar products switching to PPE. They were trying to help in a difficult situation. However, there have been cases where such products that do not meet OSHA requirements and even outright fraud. Both Ansell and 3M have issued warnings and guidelines – especially on disposable gloves and N95 respirators. 

Steps for “Next Time” 

A lot has been written about key lessons learnt and steps to take for “the next time”. Four actions stand out for companies to seriously include in their planning for the future.

Below is a similar note by the American Health Association on steps to take to strengthen the supply infrastructure in the medical field.

4 Steps to a Stronger Supply Infrastructure By The American Health Association

1. Coordinate the Response to Offers for Help

Many hospitals and health systems were flooded with calls, emails and other inquiries about PPE needs as the pandemic unfolded. Some messages reached the supply team, others didn’t. This underscores the need for purchasing or another department to be the single point of contact for coordinating with alternative suppliers and donors.

2. Vet Equipment Designs to Ensure Quality

Food and Drug Administration approval processes that certify the designs and production processes of products and emergency use authorizations allowed nontraditional suppliers to produce low-risk PPE. Quality control became an issue as some products from these sources proved to be ineffective, uncomfortable or unsafe. Digital platforms for aggregating, documenting and vetting medical supply designs can help. Open Source Medical Supplies, a collaborative between manufacturers and physicians, was launched last March to aid in this effort. The group has created a library of nearly 200 open-source designs for PPE and medical devices. These designs are vetted by medical advisers, and a volunteer community offers input on improving designs for safety.

3. Develop Alternative Suppliers before They’re Needed

Identifying and forging relationships now with alternative suppliers, and adding these sources to approved vendor lists will allow provider organizations to move quickly during emergencies. To jump-start this effort, the AHA’s Association for Health Care Resource & Materials Management website provides a wealth of tools, including a list of more than 400 vetted and approved nontraditional suppliers offering PPE and other supplies and services.

4. Test Supply Chain Availability

As part of emergency preparedness drills, include the potential for large-scale supplier disruption and determine which existing and alternative suppliers the organization can turn to when product shortages begin to surface.

Here at Quest Safety Products, we are working hard to stay ahead of supply chain issues to avoid passing the rising transportation costs off to our customers. If you are looking to diversify your supply chain with a secondary supplier, Quest is experienced in managing the Supplier Change Process to ensure a smooth addition. If this is something your organization is working though, we are here to help.

27 May 2021

Hot weather is great for heading to the beach, but it can be dangerous for those working in high temperatures. 

Both outdoor and indoor workers exposed to hot temperatures run the risk of heat stress. Unfortunately, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 11 workers are killed or severely injured by heat stress every day

Heat safety in the workplace is the best way to avoid heat stress and keep your whole team safe.

In this blog, we’ll focus on heat safety and dive into how to keep yourself and your team safe while working in high temperatures.

What is Heat Stress?

The body regulates its temperature to stay below 99.7° F. However, when the body cannot maintain its normal temperature below 99.7 ° F, it goes into heat stress. When left to progress, heat stress can develop into serious heat-related illnesses and even heat stroke. Extremely high internal temperatures of 104° F damage the brain and can result in death within 30 minutes.

We’ll focus on the environmental factors of heat stress and what you can do to avoid heat stress in the workplace. Individual factors like medication, age, and weight can also increase the risk for some workers. 

Types of Heat Stress

Heat stress can result in several different heat-related illnesses such as:

  • Sunburn. Severe sunburn is a form of heat stress that can cause skin blistering. It’s often accompanied by dehydration and fatigue as well. 
  • Heat rash. This is a skin irritation that forms when sweat cannot evaporate from the skin. It’s common in hot work environments that require protective clothing or have limited airflow. 
  • Heat cramps. Excessive sweating causes fluid and salt loss. Low salt levels can lead to muscle cramps. This commonly occurs in tired muscles and can even show up after work. 
  • Heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is a serious condition that involves heavy sweating, dizziness, and headache. When it worsens, it can lead to vomiting and even fainting. 

How to Handle Signs of Heat Stress

For most signs of heat stress, the first course of action is to reduce physical activity and get to a cool place out of direct sunlight. Drink water or a sports drink and wait until you cool down to return to any physical activity. A heat rash must be kept dry, and you can apply powder to soothe it. Those with sunburn should stay out of the sun until it heals and use a moisturizing lotion.  

For heat exhaustion and heat cramps, seek out medical attention if vomiting occurs, symptoms last over an hour, or you have heart problems. If you suspect a heat stroke, call 911 immediately and use damp, cool clothes to bring the person’s temperature down. Do NOT give the person anything to drink.

Ways to Prevent a Heat-Related Illness

While knowing how to handle heat stress is vital in an emergency, the best strategy is to prevent heat stress altogether. Here are some helpful tips that you and your team should implement to avoid heat stress:

  • Acclimatize your team. Create an acclimatization plan to gradually increase your workers’ exposure to hot environments. For your current team, increase the time spent in the hot environment slowly over one to two weeks. On the other hand, new workers should not have any more than 20% exposure on the first day with a maximum of 20% additional exposure on the subsequent days. 
  • A partnering system. Use a buddy system to pair workers together. Each buddy is responsible for checking on the other to make sure they use water and shade during breaks. They should also check for heat-related symptoms. 
  • Appropriate clothing. Educate your team on appropriate clothing. Clothing should be loose-fitting, light-colored, and breathable. Opt for a sweat-wicking, breathable material as cotton can be soaked. While proactive equipment like gloves, boots, suits, and masks may be necessary, it increases the risk of heat stress. Workers that must use personal protective gear should be given adequate breaks outside of the gear. 
  • Water breaks. Fluids are vital for controlling body temperature during hot weather. Allow for many water breaks, encouraging your team to drink at least one cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes. 
  • Educate your team. Discuss the risk and signs of heat stress with your team. Make sure they know what to watch for in themselves and others. Post a dehydration chart near the bathrooms to remind employees to check their hydration levels and hydrate accordingly. 

Check out our Heat Stress Resource Page for additional heat stress resources:

  • Heat Index Chart
  • Infographics
  • NIOSH Fast Facts
  • Printable posters from OSHA and NIOSH you can hang in your office
  • Ergodyne Toolbox Talks
  • OSHA Fact Sheets and Quick Card
  • Heat Stress Guides and White Papers
  • Additional Tools and Links

Quest Safety Can Help

Overheating at work is a serious issue that can lead to dangerous heat-related illnesses. Heat safety in the workplace is critical for preventing and adequately treating any heat stress. Quest Safety is here to help keep you and your team safe from the risks of heat stress. Contact us today to learn more about our summer safety solutions.