I've been speaking recently with many folks in the apparel distribution business who have heard of FR Clothing, but don't sell it. There's three primary reasons for a uniform distributor to consider dealing flame resistant clothing: growing needs, growing awareness, and growing revenue.
Growing Needs. Since 2010, OSHA has levied fines in the oil & gas industry on companies who encounter accidents and whose employees aren't outfitted in flash fire resistant clothing. When considering that the US Department of Labor is expecting 10% growth in jobs that require NFPA 2112 protective clothing, and the expansion of oil and gas drilling from North Dakota to the Gulf Coast - the market needs are growing at a steady rate.
Growing Awareness. The other growing segment of the flame resistant clothing market is manufacturing. Manufacturing companies outfit their electrician, engineering, and maintenance personnel in FR, sometmes mistaken as "flame retardant" clothing. Here, the safety concern is arc flash protection against momentary blasts of electricity that cause severe burns and in some cases, death. NFPA 70E illustrates five levels of protection that FR clothing can provide. A voluntary standard, it's been estimated that only 60% of the market is in compliance. However, the awareness of arc rated clothing has increased steadily among safety personnel over the last several years and the remaining number of facilities out of compliance presents another opportunity for apparel dealers.
Growing Revenue. Compared to medical apparel, hospitality, and non-FR work clothing flame resistant clothing is a much higher-end product in terms of cost. To produce this clothing, manufacturers must invest heavily in testing to ensure fabrics meet the various standards. US-based fabric, like TECGEN SELECT®, also brings higher cost due to using world-class facilities within our own borders. With that said, dealers that are well-educated in FR clothing and can bring their expertise to the customer often have the most success earning larger revenue dollars per unit while still maintaining profitable margins. A distributor intrested in selling FR clothing should learn as much as possible from manufacturers and their own resources alike. Afterward, the market will take care of the rest!
TECGEN SELECT® provides expert flame resistant clothing education and training with a team of experts that have decades of combined experience in the FR clothing market.
-The TECGEN Talker