Spring into Safety with Cool Workwear Options

Hello Spring! The arrival of warm weather brings the need to switch to lightweight options without sacrificing protection from hazards on the job site. When considering seasonal weather changes the particular dangers of the workplace should be balanced with a desired level of comfort. We offer many great options to keep your workers comfortable and productive.

Any expenses related to procuring seasonally appropriate PPE are minimal when compared to losing workers to heat-related injuries.

Lightweight Workwear Options

Our manufacturing division offers a wide assortment of fire-retardant workwear suitable for year-round use. When choosing PPE, the fabric should be breathable to make warm weather as comfortable as possible:

Coveralls – This product comes in a variety of inherent and non-inherent fabric choices. We deal with fabric mills all over North America that feature a variety of fabrics for specific applications. A few things to consider for your Spring/Summer coveralls would be fabric weight, lighter colour choices and moisture wicking properties.

Unlined Bib Pant – This high visibility gear is constructed of Nomex IIIA (93% Nomex/ 5% Kevlar) is also offered in 88/12 (88% cotton/12% nylon) and Tecasafe (48% Modacrylic/37% Lyocell/15% Para-Aramid). Combining the unlined bib pant with a fire-retardant shirt makes for a comfortable option to keep cool while remaining versatile for layering.

Vest – This lightweight vest is an excellent transition piece that also works great when layered. This product can come in a variety of pocket configurations. Also available in an insulated and non-insulated version for year-round use.

Spring/Summer Jacket – We offer this bomber-style jacket with its wind guard collar designed to be protective and adjustable to a stand-up position for those chilly spring mornings. This coat is comfortable yet versatile and includes felt lined inside pockets.

Fire-Retardant Button-Up Shirt – This item is also constructed in Nomex IIIA, 88/12 or Tecasafe fabric choices. This lightweight shirt provides increased mobility and is a fantastic alternative to coveralls when paired with fire retardant summer bibs and/or cargo pants. When wearing this carefully constructed shirt, the user will experience relief from hot temperatures along with increased safety when working around energized parts due to the streamlined fit.

Cleaning Options

Regardless of the season, proper care and maintenance of PPE can significantly increase the garment’s functionality and lifespan, saving you in the long run. Our services go beyond manufacturing of safety apparel, to include industrial dry cleaning, industrial/commercial laundry services and garment repairs.

Consolidate your PPE program with Goodfish Coveralls by choosing a supplier that can manufacture, repair and clean all your workwear.

Whether its fire-retardant PPE products, more robust dry cleaning for oil contaminated workwear or regular laundry service for organic focused soils, we have everything you need to keep your workers safe, cool, and comfortable during the Spring/Summer months. 

You really can’t put a price on reinforcing a positive safety culture so why not look good while doing it!

Looking to purchase industrial season safety apparel in Alberta? For more information about our year- round apparel, please visit our website at Goodfish Coveralls or by selecting the link to “Get Pricing Guide.

Guide to FR Safety Regulations in Canada

FR workwear protects employees on the job

 

The Canada Labor Code is aimed at addressing the health and safety concerns of employers and employees alike. Both parties are required to abide by the provisions of the Code and nurture a safe workplace. Safety concerns are likely to assume greater significance at certain workplaces with dangerous conditions including sectors such as oil, petroleum, natural gas, coal, and minerals industries. Food processing plants and utilities are also prone to different hazards. Here, there is a need for different types of protective gear including clothing with flame-resistant (FR) properties. Such protective equipment can safeguard workers from the dangers of hydrocarbon flash fires, electric arc flashes, and other similar hazards.

Evaluating Risk

FR apparel if of different types and the industry sector as well as the job role will determine what is required. A detailed risk hazard assessment of the workplace can help you make this decision. Failure to do so can leave workers unprotected or at the least under protected, making them vulnerable to fire hazards.

Features of FR Gear

One good way of ensuring that the workwear you are considering for purchase is worthy, is by checking for the Canadian General Standards Board label stating that the item is flame-resistant. This attests to the garment’s level of flame-resistance, its insulation, top notch fabric integrity, and anti-static properties. FR workwear will be made of fibers that are inherently flame-resistant or those with flame retardant finishes. 

Selecting and Buying Appropriate Apparel  

According to the Canadian General Standards Board, FR workwear offering protection against flash fires is subject to CGSB-155.20 or NFPA 2112 Standard on Flame-Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Flash Fire. For protection from electrical fires, garments should meet the American standards NFPA 70E, while for rainwear it is ASTM F2733. Additionally, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) specifies that FR apparel should meet the following criteria:

    • Cover the upper and lower body as well as any flammable layers beneath
    • There must be a layer of air between skin and the fabric, it should not be tight-fitting 
    • Logos or reflective stripes must be made of FR material or be eliminated all together
    • The manufacturer bids must include substantiation of certification for the protective apparel
    • Every bid must be compared against the purchase specifications
    • If there are any additional specifications as regards design and performance, those must also be included
    • The purchased garments must be inspected to determine if they meet purchase specifications
    • Garments that do not meet the purchase specifications must be returned to the manufacturer
    • Instructions, warranties, and other documentation accompanying the apparel must be checked

Also, it is important to keep in mind that it is always good to source your FR garments in North America. With foreign made garments you do not know if you are getting the same garment that has been tested. 

In the unfortunate case of an explosion or fire it is difficult to hold foreign entities liable for injuries or poor garment performance. Therefore it is best to deal with North American based materials and have the same company supply, maintain, and repair your FR garments.

Gloves are also part of FR workwear

Source: Unsplash.com

Appropriate Use of FR Garments

For FR workwear to be effective, it is essential that the garments be used the right way. Instructing employees and training them in the right way of handling FR apparel is essential. Firstly, you must earmark the locations and conditions where FR garments are to be used. Follow it up with:

  • All relevant information on the correct way of wearing and removing protective apparel
  • Tips on care and maintenance of the garments as suggested by manufacturer along with any manuals, instructions provided
  • Guidance on limitations about the use of the garment
  • Any information on what over garments or under garments are to be worn along with the FR apparel 
  • When FR garments require repairs, they need to be done in accordance with manufacturer’s guidelines
  • Also, any protective clothing that is no longer serviceable must be replaced 

FR workwear can protect from fire hazards

Cleaning of FR Apparel

Appropriate care and maintenance of FR garments can help extend their life and ensure that the fabric retains its unique properties. New FR apparel must be washed before being worn for the first time. Afterwards, it should be cleaned regularly to avoid build-up of contaminants that can decrease its flame resistance. Garments that are heavily contaminated are likely to require special cleaning. The CAPP recommends that such contaminated workwear be cleaned in facilities that are qualified and equipped to do so. Professional laundering is one good way of ensuring that the quality of the fabric is not compromised in any way. Organizations such as Goodfish that offer specialized cleaning services for FR apparel make use of the latest technology to remove dirt and contaminants effectively.  

It is important to remember that FR workwear is intended for unplanned or accidental exposure to intense heat for a mere seconds – three second or less. Thus, for workplaces that involve exposure to higher levels of heat for a much longer duration, you will require FR garments of wholly different composition.

Why Supporting Goodfish Helps Alberta Indigenous Communities’

Businesses run by Indigenous communities are significant to the Canadian economy.

It is a well-known fact that Indigenous businesses play an important role in the Canadian economy as providers of good, jobs, and services. The country is home to over 600 Indigenous communities. Following a recent APEC study in the wake of the COVID pandemic, the spotlight is on Indigenous businesses more than ever. The study speaks about how many communities facing economic challenges such as lack of funding and relief packages to bounce back. The Canadian Prime Minister had in April 2020 announced nearly $300 million in funding to bail out medium to small-sized Indigenous businesses. The relief package was also intended as support to Indigenous financial institutions that provide financing to these businesses. 

At the time, Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, said, “Some Indigenous businesses who are already facing unique challenges, including being in rural or remote locations and having less access to capital, are disproportionately affected by this unprecedented situation.” He added that the support provided will facilitate maximum flexibility in supporting local businesses – entrepreneurships, cooperative businesses, or any of the many industries across Canada to continue contributing to their communities. 

Statistics indicate that in 2017, there were nearly 19,000 businesses located in Indigenous communities (approximately 17,000 in First Nations communities and 2,000 in Inuit communities). Combined, these businesses generated just over $10 billion in total revenue and $0.4 billion in profits in the reference year of this study. Nearly 9,000 of these businesses, slightly more than half of them, are located in British Columbia. Given the magnitude of the contribution made by Indigenously-owned businesses to the country’s economy, it becomes essential to provide them all necessary support.

Goodfish Lake Business Corporation (GFLBC) is one of many organizations working towards a better future for the many Indigenous communities in Canada. Catering to the oil and gas industry, we have various divisions providing services such as dry cleaning, laundry, sewing and garment. In the aftermath of the COVID pandemic, Goodfish has also entered the non-medical mask manufacturing segment. Having been in business for over four decades, it’s the community-centric approach that has helped our corporation reach new heights over the years. GFLBC has always believed in giving back to the community that we are a part of. Being a First Nations enterprise, supporting Goodfish means helping Alberta’s Indigenous communities. 

Mask making is now a business venture for enterprises such as Goodfish run by Indigenous communities.

Investing in the Community

GFLBC is a firm believer in nurturing relationships with those who have stood by us through the good and the bad. The corporation’s business model believes in keeping the money within the First Nations communities. As a result, half of all the profits earned by our corporation go towards building community infrastructure. Similarly, ten percent of profits is earmarked for educational endowments while forty percent is dedicated to business growth. Initiatives such as these foster a sense of involvement and employees feel like they’re part of an extended family that stays together and works together.

Job Security

GFLBC provides employment for community members and lets them stay close to their families. We also offer job stability, a claim underlined by the fact that the majority of our employees have been with us for decades! Of the nearly 120 employees, 90% identify as Indigenous with roughly 80% being community members of Whitefish (Goodfish) Lake First Nation #128. In some instances, generations of the same family have been employees of the organization. This just underscores the job satisfaction that community members derive from working at an enterprise that places their interests first.

GFLBC believes in giving back to the indigenous communities that power it.

Stepping Stone

For many others, GFLBC has acted as a stepping stone to success. The organization supports the career aspirations of its community members and helps them expand their horizon. This is achieved through hands-on training at the Goodfish facility as well as encouraging continued education and training of employees. Some of the community members choose to return to the area after gaining experience in various sectors. Quite a few of the returnees even go on to set up new business ventures to further benefit the community members.

By continuously seeking employee and community feedback, GFBLC ensures that we are always on the right track. This is because we have realized that by acting upon the feedback in a timely manner, we can improve ourselves and keep on helping Alberta Indigenous communities for many more years to come. By winning the ‘Best of Business’ award at the recent Alberta Business Awards of Distinction, our resolve towards the cause has been further strengthened.

All You Need to Know About Fire-Resistant PPE

Workers in hazardous workplaces are at risk without fire-resistant PPE

Safety is of the utmost importance at the workplace. More so, when it is in a hazardous sector such as construction, oil and gas industry, electricity, and utilities. Organizations in these industries are expected to provide their employees with fire-resistant personal protective equipment and other safety gear. Also known as flame-resistant (FR) personal protective equipment (PPE), these must adhere to the standards prescribed by the relevant regulatory agencies. FR apparel acts as a protective layer over skin and can provide a certain degree of protection to the wearer. It does not, however, fully safeguard from fire hazards. 

Fire-Resistant Vs Fire-Retardant

Quite often, fire-resistant PPE is confused with fire-retardant PPE. Fire-resistant PPE is made of fibers that are slow to ignite on exposure to fire. They can also withstand repeated cleaning or washes and never lose their fire-resistant properties. Meanwhile, fire-retardant garments are made of non fire retardant fibers that are then treated with chemicals that gives it it’s FR properties. Fire-retardant garments tend to lose their unique properties much more quickly. Thus, they tend to be more affordable than fire-resistant protective gear.

The Right Type of Fire-Resistant PPE

There is no one solution when it comes to FR gear. The type of safety apparel required will depend on the unique hazards of your sector of work. A comprehensive workplace risk assessment can help you determine the type of protection required. For instance, the requirements of workers in the oil and gas sector will vary significantly from those in the construction industry. Also, fire-resistant PPE apparel is available in a wide variety of materials including naturally fire-resistant fibers and those that have been chemically treated to be fire-resistant. Each of these fibers and the fabrics made from them come with a set of pros and cons. You will need to evaluate and decide on which one is best suited to your specific requirements. Apart from the scope of work, durability, your budget, and maintenance plan will all have an impact on the type of FR gear you opt for. 

Workers in different sectors are safeguarded by fire-resistant PPE

Wearing Fire-Resistant Gear 

In order to derive optimal safety benefits of FR garments, it is important to give some thought to the clothes to be worn under the PPE. It is essential that garments worn under fire-resistant PPE have non-melting properties. The primary benefit of this is that this will act as yet another layer of FR protection. So, in the event the first or outer layer of PPE is damaged in a fire hazard, this second layer will offer some amount of protection. In addition, wearing layers of garments creates an air insulation pocket between two layers that adds to the wearer’s safety.  Comfort and fit will also play an important role in ensuring employee compliance with the organization’s safety policy. 

  • Comfort – There is no reason why PPE should not be comfortable to the wearer. Reputed brands use high quality materials and these can keep the wearer comfortable even in adverse weather conditions. 

 

  • Fit – No one likes a bad fit and it’s no different when it comes to fire-resistant PPE. Unless the garment is the right size, wearing it can prove cumbersome. This can deter workers from donning protective gear regularly and thus, put them at risk for hazards. Garments that facilitate ease of movement should be preferred here.

 

  • Topnotch Accessories – When buying fire-resistant PPE, it becomes essential to check the quality of accessories used. For instance, durable zippers, reinforced snaps and pockets, are just some of the items to lookout for.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Caring for Fire-Resistant PPE

Fire-resistant garments can be quite expensive and purchasing new ones often can cause quite a dent in your annual budget. Choosing quality garments is one way of ensuring that you do not have to keep purchasing new FR apparel. Caring for fire-resistant PPE in the recommended manner and adequate maintenance is another way of increasing its longevity. 

Fire resistant PPE is a must at hazardous workplaces

Protective clothing must be laundered the right way to preserve its unique characteristics. For instance, apparel used in the oil and gas industry likely have a layer of hydrocarbons over it. Reputed commercial laundry programs such as those offered by Goodfish can help eliminate these hydrocarbons without compromising the fabric. Failure to remove such flammable components from the garment’s surface can put employees at risk of being injured. 

Being armed with all the information pertaining to fire-resistant PPE can help you make an informed decision about the safety plan of your organization. Picking the right type of protective work gear and adhering to the government regulations on workplace hazard prevention will help you ensure a safe and welcoming atmosphere for every employee. Take it to the next level and select a vendor who not only manufactures the workwear but cleans it as well.

Vital Considerations When Caring for FR Garments

FR garments such as those worn by the two men require adequate maintenance and care

Canadian gas producers are voicing a cautiously positive outlook for the days to come. Strengthening prices, increased pipeline shipping capacity, and a reduction in US production are seen as fueling the Canadian oil and gas sector. “It’s not setting up for an environment where we think there’ll be a massive rally in pricing, but we think it’s setting up for a better environment than we’ve seen in the last three years,” says Dan Payne, financial analyst, National Bank.

Developments such as this are likely to signal a need for higher productivity levels. This means that employees will have to be more efficient.  For greater efficiency, it is essential that employees feel comfortable and safe in their work environment.  The oil and gas industry is full of dangers for employees. However, adhering to the rules set by regulatory agencies can help you ensure the well-being of your workers. Providing appropriate safety gear to employees is likely to be part of your safety program in keeping with these regulations. However, your responsibility as an employer does not end with providing the protective equipment. It is essential to ensure that it is well-maintained and fit for use at all times. This is especially true of flame resistant (FR) garments. 

Hydrocarbons can cause FR garments to ignite suddenly

The Outcome of Lax Care of FR Garments:

If you are lax in any way when caring for FR garments, it can compromise the protective properties of the apparel. For instance, if flammable substances are found on the surface, they can ignite and burn. Similarly, using non-FR embroidery or emblems can compromise the FR properties of the garments.  This is very dangerous and can prove a costly mistake at the workplace. Being aware of the correct procedures in caring for FR garments is critical. 

Caring for FR Garments:

When the apparel or gear ceases to be effective, it must be replaced at once.  Replacing protective gear frequently can prove expensive besides contributing to an increase in landfills. Appropriate care and maintenance of FR garments can be a more feasible option, both financially and in terms of eco-friendliness. With proper maintenance, you will be able to elicit topnotch performance from the garments at all times. Here are some vital considerations to keep in mind when caring for FR garments:

  • Employee training – Put an efficient employee training program in place to ensure your workers know how to use and maintain their FR garments and other safety equipment properly. Make them aware of manufacturer’s instructions regarding this to get optimal use from FR garments.
  • Scheduled inspections – Put in place a system for regularly inspecting FR garments before each use. The garments must be checked to ensure they are wearable. Look for signs of wear and tear such as holes, tears, and threadbare spots.
  • Learn to read the signs – A garment will not lose its FR properties just because it is stained.  Smell the garment to see if it reeks of fuel. If it does, then that means there is a presence of hydrocarbons that are combustible substances. In this scenario, it the garment is likely to be cignite. A thorough cleaning can eliminate the smell and make the apparel safe again for the wearer. 
  • Immediate repairs – When there are signs of wear and tear, see if it’s possible to carry out repairs in keeping with manufacturer guidelines. If accessories such as buttons or zips are to be replaced, ensure that the replacements are approved for FR use. One way of doing this effectively is by getting repairs done at an authorized facility or sending it to the manufacturer.
  • Professional laundry service – Some substances such as fabric softener, bleach and peroxide can be harmful to FR garments. Similarly, some garments might be at risk of streaking and will need to be washed with care. Getting the garments cleaned at an industrial laundry can effectively eliminate harmful components from the surface of the garments without compromising the fabric in any way. Buildups on the surface of the garments such as those from fabric softeners, starch, and some insect repellants can be dangerous to the wearer. Professional laundry organizations such as Goodfish that offer specialized dry cleaning use the latest technology to carry out their large scale commercial laundry programs. 

FR garments afford protection to workers in hazardous conditions

When FR garments are damaged beyond repair, it is essential that you discard them and replace with new ones. Following these steps will help you keep the garments in usable condition and ensure that your employees are always outfitted with the best protection. There is a limitation to the role of regulatory agencies in ensuring compliance with industry standards and best practices. Ultimately, the responsibility of implementing and maintaining an effective safety program lies with the organization.

The Difference Between Inherent and Treated Fabrics and What it Means for Your Safety Program

One crucial responsibility of an employer is to ensure the safety of their employees at the workplace. This is especially significant in industries where high risk hazards such as arc flash and fires are a possibility. The oil, petroleum, natural gas, coal, and minerals industry, utilities, and food processing plants top the list of such sectors. There is a need for different types of protective gear including clothing with flame-resistant (FR) properties to safeguard workers. In such a scenario, protective eyewear, garments, gloves, and hard hats are likely to be part of your company’s safety program. 

The safety gear you choose must be in keeping with the guidelines prescribed by agencies such as the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS). However, given the wide range of FR fabrics and garments available, choosing the best one for your specific requirements can be difficult. Knowing the differences between inherent and treated fabrics can help you make an informed decision. 

Inherent Vs Treated Fabrics:

Simply put, in inherent fabrics, the flame resistance is an integral characteristic of the fiber that the fabric is made of. 

  • Since the structure of the fiber is itself fire resistant, its FR properties are permanent. 
  • The Thermal Protective Performance (TPP) score of inherent fabrics is higher than that of treated fabrics. This rating indicates the thermal insulation efficiency of the garment against heat exposure. A higher number is indicative of greater protection.
  • Garments made of inherent fabrics tend to be more expensive. However, the one-time expense is offset by the longevity of the fabric. 
  • Protective wear made of inherent fabrics tends to offer greater breathability and better moisture management.

Meanwhile, treated fabrics are subjected to a chemical flame retardant to make them fire resistant. 

  • The fiber used to make FR treated fabric is usually cotton or blended cotton. 
  • Unlike inherent fabrics, the FR properties of treated fabrics can diminish over time. This will depend on the levels of chemicals they are exposed to at the workplace and the manner in which they are cleaned. 
  • In addition some suppliers coat their fabric in hazardous chemicals such as Teflon. Stay away from this whenever possible. 
  • Fabric treated with chemicals is less expensive than those made of inherent fabrics.
  • However some types of treated fabrics tend to be heavier than inherent fabrics. This can enhance their performance because the greater the mass between the wearer and the fire hazard, the higher the protection afforded.

Protective apparel such as worn by these workers can be made of inherent or treated FR fabric

How Does It Impact on Safety?

While both treated and inherent fabrics offer adequate protection to the wearer, longevity is one area where inherent fabric scores higher. This means, the garment made of inherent fabric retains its FR properties for as long as it is usable. However, damage to the apparel in the form of usual wear and tear can prove just as dangerous as lack of FR properties.  When making your purchase, check if the apparel is guaranteed for life. Even treated fabrics come with this guarantee provided the laundering instructions are strictly followed. Most manufacturers suggest avoiding use of bleach, starch, and fabric softener during the cleaning process. This is because the chemicals in these products can compromise the FR properties of the garment.

How to Ensure Proper Maintenance of FR Apparel:

Protective apparel made of treated fabrics is usually accompanied by instructions on their ‘proper care’. Failure to retain the garment’s unique properties by adhering to the care instructions can pose a danger to the wearer. You can avoid this risk by getting such workwear professionally laundered or dry cleaned. The use of latest techniques and equipment can ensure that the garment retains its fire retardant properties. 

The superior dry cleaning method applied at Goodfish ensures that your high quality coveralls are cleaned without damaging the fabric in any way. Corroborating this is a study conducted by Alberta Research Council and the University of Alberta that indicates that the process we use actually enhances the longevity of the fabric without compromising its thermal protective or flame resistance properties in any way. Similarly, workwear made of inherent fabrics must also be cleaned professionally to extend its longevity and prevent damage such as tearing or ripping.

Wearing FR gear is a good idea and it protects workers to a certain extent. At the same time, it is important to remember that this alone will not be sufficient. Quite a few other safety practices must be implemented to ensure maximum protection. For instance, a thorough hazard-risk assessment must be done to identify the workers most at risk of fire accidents. Sufficient training must be provided to employees in donning the gear and its maintenance to prevent early wear and tear. 

Verdict: Partner with companies who have the ability to customize your garment program to your changing needs. Many companies strictly import treated materials without trying to assess your needs first. This drastically limits the versatility of your program. We recommend you choose suppliers that work with both Inherent and Treated fabrics in order to maximize the effectiveness of your program.

In addition partner with Manufacturers such as Goodfish Lake that are involved in both the supply and cleaning of your garments.

 

How the Oil/Gas Market Has Been Affected by the COVID Pandemic and What’s Next

Masks are the new norm that innovative business solutions are likely to revolve around.

From Coveralls To Cloth Masks – Innovation In Times of Adversity

Masks are the new norm that innovative business solutions are likely to revolve around.

A Guide to PPE in the Summer – How To Keep Your Team Cool & Protected

Even in the soaring heat of summer, wearing PPE correctly is of the utmost importance.

© 2018 Goodfish Lake Business Corporation | All Rights Reserved.