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:

The hi-vis examples shown below are from our partner at Protective Industrial Products (PIP). They offer hi-vis options to fit all your safety needs. They also manufacture hi-vis apparel that is self-extinguishing, include D-Ring access, UV protection, insect repellant and are water resistant.

  • 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.

(The vest below is one of PIP’s 5 Point Breakaway Vests: A five point breakaway system allows workers to quickly remove the vest for additional safety around extreme traffic hazards, moving machinery or equipment.)

  • 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.

(The vest below is just one of PIP’s PPE offering specifically designed for female workers with a contoured fit and drawstring adjustable waist.)

  • 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.
  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 all the top ANSI-compliant manufacturers. 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.



Single-Use versus Reusable Garments: Which Provides Better Protection?

Did you know the highest causes of contamination in controlled environments are from the people who work there? This means the right garments are critical. While it may seem like the best option would be reusable garments since they are made using more substantial material that can be washed repeatedly, it turns out the sterilization process may cause them to deteriorate over time, leading to lower bacterial efficiency than their disposable counterparts.

With this in mind, Quest recommends replacing reusable garments with disposable ones for the following reasons:

Ultimate Protection
With each laundering and sterilization, the air permeability, bacteria barrier, and tear strength efficiency of reusable garments is reduced and particle shedding is increased. Disposable apparel arrives clean, hygienically packaged, and ready to use.

Consistent Quality
Disposable garments provide more uniform and dependable protection every single time. The quality of reusable garments is inconsistent. You never know what the protection level is, depending on where they are in their lifecycle

Peace of Mind
With disposal garments you know exactly what level of protection your employees are getting every time they don garments. Inventory and usage costs are easy to predict and manage over time

Click on the image to download our helpful graphic on reasons to choose disposable over reusable garments.

Don’t just take our word for it. The proof is in the data. Our partners at DuPont shared a video where they put reusable garments to the test. They conducted testing by laundering and sterilizing two new,        reusable garments for 30 cycles and examined how well they held up. Here’s what they found.

Test #1: Air Permeability and Barrier on Reusable Garments
After 20 cycles, air permeability increased 5X (garment A) to 8X (garment B) based on the Frayser Air Permeability Test. This shows that garments become less airtight and less effective at bacterial filtration over time.

Test #2: Particle Shedding of Reusable Garments
After 30 cycles, there was a noticeable increase in particle shedding on fabric swatches cut from the tested reusable garments.

Test #3: Tear Strength
The tear strength of fabric cut from reusable polyester garments steadily decreased with each cycle. After 30 cycles, the tear strength dropped by 60%.

The takeaway? Single use garments provide more uniform and dependable protection, with consistent quality. Plus with single-use garments, both inventory and usage costs are easier to predict and manage over time. Taken all together, choosing disposable garments results in greater peace of mind when it comes to keeping your facilities contaminant free and running smoothly.

01 Mar 2021

These have been difficult months for logistic providers, businesses and consumers as shipping delays around the world have held up products and supplies with inventory levels being depleted. The shortage in containers and port delays are putting pressure logistic costs, which have generally doubled. “Supply chains may take several more months to return to some semblance of normality as inventory, now trapped further up the supply chain, will need to be cleared,” Ocean Insights’ Chief Operations Officer Josh Brazil reported in February.

Impact on International Shipping

Metrics such as carriers’ schedule reliability are worsening and cargo rollover rates are still on the rise. The average delay for containers increased from one day in January 2020, to more than five days in January 2021. More than 40 cargo ships with tens of thousands of containers were waiting at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in January reported Reuters, with an increase to 62 ships by late February. This has been similar at many US trade gateways.

Shipping Congestion in San Pedro Bay

The Chinese New Year has exacerbated COVID-19 related shipping delays outbound from China. The New Year celebrations now last a month as workers tend to take time off to visit distant homes. Internal travel restrictions imposed by Chinese authorities, requiring domestic travelers to quarantine for 14 days after traveling, has added a new bottleneck. Many Chinese factories have been totally closed for the month of February.

Global Schedule Reliability, declining since the middle of 2020, has not improved through February of this year. It appears that all 20 of the global ports for which Ocean Insights, a data analytics firm, collates data have seen a decline.

Global Schedule Reliability via Economic Times

“Huge numbers of medical supplies keep on coming along with furniture, appliances, construction material, landscaping, hot tubs and anything related to the outdoors,” said Mario Cordero, executive director at the Port of Long Beach. “Americans that have not been impacted by Covid will continue to spend and the surge could go on through late spring.” (The Wall Street Journal)

Industry executives say shipping rates have increased 50-100% and container rates have almost doubled. Quest Safety Products, a distributor based in Indianapolis, has even seen cancellations when their containers are rolled over because of overbooking but they are still charged cancellation fees. This is starting to result in price increases to the end-user of three to five percent.

On the Domestic Front

On the domestic front, according to FedEx, there are three major factors causing delays:

Heavy Package Volume

The pandemic has created record-breaking shipment volumes. As more people shop online to avoid crowds in stores, those numbers have grown even more. This has created shipping volumes that are taxing logistics networks nationwide, which may cause delays.

COVID-19 business closures

The pandemic continues to cause businesses around the country to close. If you need to send a shipment to an area that’s experiencing closures, contact your recipient before you ship to ensure they’re open and able to receive your package.

Weather and Other Service Disruptions

Seasonal weather events and other disruptions have occurred, causing delays for inbound and outbound shipments. Our top priorities are the safety and well-being of our team members and providing the best service to our customers.  

There has been a huge increase in freight volume since the economic contraction. As reported by FedEx, growth in eCommerce is driving small parcel growth. For 2021, FTR Transportation Intelligence forecasts an increase in truck loadings of about 5% and an increase in rates of about 8%. Spot rates are higher depending on disruptions and weather such as in February.

In Conclusion

Shipping delays have plagued 2020 and are likely to continue well into 2021 as inventory trapped in the supply chain becomes available and choke points, such as shipping ports, are cleared.

The expectation is that supply pressures will result in higher logistic costs. Expect these to be passed on to end-users. 

Maintaining inventory or accepting close alternatives are potential ways to overcome spot shortages that are occurring and likely to continue for some time. 

To maintain good customer relationships, it is important for suppliers to: 

  • Stay in close touch with their customers, keeping them advised of delays quickly so they can take possible steps to mitigate potential problems
  • Be honest and open about the delay
  • Offer close alternatives when possible 

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.

07 Jan 2021

This article focuses on some of the key trends and issues that are impacting workplace safety and will continue into 2021 and beyond. In summary:

  • Continued PPE Shortages: There are, and will continue to be, shortages of key personal protective equipment. These will include N95 masks, nitrile gloves, face shields, protective gowns, hand sanitizers, cleaning wipes, etc. Some supplies may be spotty and may have regional impact only.
  • Heightened Awareness: COVID has changed the world of workplace safety with workers being at higher risk, greater job insecurity, increasing concerns about family safety and more financial pressures; resulting in an unprecedented increase in awareness and public attention on workplace health & safety.  
  • Employee “Well-Being”: Leading organizations are starting to go beyond safety and even wellness. They have focused on safety for decades; more recently on employee wellness and supporting them in developing healthier lifestyles. With the new workplace realities, total employee “well-being” is emerging as balancing work and personal life is becoming more difficult with more stress, more anxiety and, unfortunately, people being unwell more often. 
  • Major Product Innovation Concepts: Several innovations became more popular. These include “Smart” PPE with sensors that monitor, collect, and record data in real time; products that allow for personal preferences; and products that increase workplace productivity.

Continued PPE Shortages

While the overall safety business will show a 6%-7% growth to $56B globally (Zion Research) driven by the Asia/Pacific region, some shortages are expected.  With Covid cases increasing and hitting new peaks around the world, the demand for certain PPE items is still very high; supply cannot keep up. The more significant of these include:

  • Disposable Masks: In 2019 850 tons of the material was used in disposable masks in the US. This is expected to increase to as much as 10,000 tons in 2021, satisfying perhaps 80% of demand ( www.ehs.com ). “N95s are still in high demand,” 3M Chief Executive Mike Roman told The Wall Street Journal. “We have more demand than we can supply.” 3M has quadrupled its production of N95 masks to 100 million a month, Honeywell is up to 20 million a month, and others are estimated at another 20 million per month.
  • Safety Gloves: Nitrile gloves have been in short supply since mid-year, with material cost increasing rapidly. Below are the prices paid by SW through midyear:

Since then supplies have tightened further, especially with Malaysia’s Top Glove Corporation, the world’s largest maker of rubber gloves, having had a two to four week closure as more than 2,000 factory workers were infected by the coronavirus (Malaysian Times). Ansell recently circulated the following on the supply and demand for exam and disposable gloves, indicating potential supply issues and price increases over the next 12–18 months.

  • Protective Clothing: According to Carmela Coyle, CEO of the California Hospital Association, COVID-19-related supply challenges will persist through 2022. “We have been challenged with shortages of isolation gowns, face shields, etc.” Because of the high demand in health care, material shortages have impacted availability of protective clothing and gowns beyond products for hospitals and frontline health care workers. Sporadic shortages in hand sanitizers and face shields have been reported, especially in certain regions.

The shortages, however, are unlikely to be as severe or widespread as in the spring. Hospitals, in particular are expecting rolling shortages of supplies such as specialized beds, disposable isolation gowns, masks and even thermometers.

What you can do:

Supply chain managers have reacted to these situations by (i) stockpiling extra inventory, (ii) developing multiple suppliers and, in some cases, (iii) turning to non-traditional manufacturers such as textile manufacturers where possible.

Heightened Awareness of Health & Safety

Clearly one result of COVID has been an unprecedented increase in awareness and public attention on workplace health & safety. This is creating a once in a generation opportunity to elevate safety in organizations to the benefit of today’s workforce and even future generations. 

Don Martin of DEKRA, which provides Testing, Inspection and Certification Services, summarized this well. There will be are three major changes with greater safety awareness (i) more attention to critical data and its  implications on safety and health, (ii) personal hygiene and area disinfection practices will increase and (iii) better preparedness for health emergencies. 

Robust safety programs will become more common and the four key elements in a successful safety program have always been: 

  1. Top management commitment, especially the CEO, and on- going attention to safety.
  2. The emergence of a safety champion who drives safety within an organization, most successful when this is the CEO; other leaders within the organization must be empowered to help build a strong safety culture.
  3. Employee buy-in and trust in the process; with initiatives to develop employee involvement in safety on a daily basis.
  4. Solid, regular, and open communication and feedback between the workers and top management so that issues are quickly identified and solutions found.

What you can do:

The difference in this COVID environment is the intense focus on workplace safety and the recognition of its importance—this should make it easier to implement successful safety programs. In a recent survey reported by Safety and Health Magazine, more than half of respondents “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that employees generally comply with safety rules and policies, but view workplace safety as “someone else’s job.” There is still a gap to be filled—it is everyone’s job.

Employee “Well-Being”

Organizations at the forefront of employee and workforce relations are starting to look beyond Workplace Safety and even Employee Wellness to what is being called “Employee Well-Being.”

Workplace Safety got a solid boost in the early 1970’s with the establishment of OSHA and the emergence of safety regulations. Starting in the 1990’s more and more attention went to Employee Wellness as healthier employees would reduce sick leave and reduce health care costs. Programs here included more exercise facilities, quit-smoking programs, healthier eating, increased testing, etc. 

The grind of 2020 has impacted employee engagement and Gallup recorded an historic drop by the summer. This is the impact of the pandemic, political and ideological polarization, racial and economic inequality, etc. The key findings include:

  1. Employees fear for their physical well-being and PWC research showed that they fear getting sick from being at work.
  2. They are confronting isolation and loneliness, with a May 2020 Gallup showing that 47% felt worried and 24% felt lonely.
  3. Elevated stress levels have taken a toll on mental health with caring for families, children being at home, concerns about jobs, and fear of contracting COVID. According to recent research by Oracle, 78% of employees surveyed say that their mental health has been affected. 
  4. Further, the U.S. Department of Justice estimates that about half of workplace accidents are partly attributable to drug abuse, and 11 percent of fatalities involve alcohol. Given their impact on safety, productivity, absenteeism, and morale—it makes sense that more companies are employing programs to provide treatment and support for affected workers. 
  5. This trend encompasses a shifting focus from detection to prevention. Safety programs have largely focused on detecting unsafe conditions, where companies spent more time mitigating risks after an accident. Now there is greater emphasis on prevention-based programs that emphasize education, training, and identifying issues before someone gets hurt.

What you can do:

Organizations need to be sensitive to these issues which are very likely to impact 2021. As the vaccine becomes more widely available and the country starts to get herd immunity, these may subside–but this is likely to take time. Well-being includes elements of mental health, a smooth return to the workplace, implementation of diversity and equity, and an overall positive employee experience within a defined purpose. This must go beyond just HR and should become a part of the role of line management.

Safety Product Innovation Trends

A key driver of the Safety and PPE business has always been product innovation. Some of the more significant trends in this area include:

  1. “Smart” PPE: This is emerging with the digital revolution and PPE with sensors are being introduced. They monitor, collect, and record biometric, location, and movement data in real time. These collect the same data as wearable devices, including the user’s heart rate, calories burned, steps walked, and blood pressure. This equipment can also track advanced metrics like the user’s blood alcohol content, blood oxygen levels, sweat levels, and vital signs. Next-generation smart PPE is expected to monitor workers’ fatigue and alertness. While there are some privacy concerns about how this data is collected and used by employers, monitoring factors that could contribute to accidents may significantly reduce the number of workplace accidents.
  1. PPE that helps improve worker productivity: This is a continuing trend to make PPE more comfortable, keep workers cooler or warmer depending on the environment, allow better and easier use of tools and machinery, etc.
  2. PPE that reflects workers’ personal preferences: This includes looser-fitting respirators that allow workers to wear facial hair, lighter fabrics and special textiles that enable clothing to meet protective standards while still providing style and comfort, more pastel colors especially for women.

In Conclusion

  • The coronavirus will continue to impact safety and PPE well into 2021 with the high COVID-related products being in much higher demand leading to shortage, though not as severe as last spring. 
  • The heightened awareness of health & safety and the recognition of its importance should make it easier to implement successful safety programs. 
  • Employee well-being, that is going beyond workplace safety and employee wellness is emerging and should expand rapidly. 
  • Finally the industry continues to innovate with “smart” PPE, helping to improve productivity and providing PPE that better meets personal preferences of the workforce.