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Questions To Ask Before Selecting A Safety Partner (Part 1)

Julie Copeland

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This week Arbill will be posting 3 blogs on the best practices to employ when selecting a safety partner. In all, we have identified 6 critical questions you should ask (and the answers you want to hear) before committing to a safety company. We will cover two of the 6 questions in each post. However, you don’t have to wait for the end of the week to get the full set of questions. You can click here to download a white paper that includes all 6 questions.


The value of asking the same set of questions to each potential safety partner is that when you compare the answers from each, it should be clear which is the right partner for you.

Today’s questions focus on the range of the safety solutions offered and the importance of selecting a partner who manufacturers their own line of safety products. 

Question: Will your safety partner provide a comprehensive solution, including EH&S, administrative control and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

There are a plethora of companies who will sell you PPE or claim to do safety training. You can even find companies who will come to your facility and conduct a safety audit. The problem with dealing with multiple companies to provide your safety needs is that this approach is disjointed.

To have a truly effective safety program, you need a safety partner who can provide a comprehensive safety solution. To be effective, your safety solution must include assessing your current safety needs and risks as well as creating, documenting and implementing a safety program. In addition, you need to support that program with the proper PPE and training needed to effectively reduce workplace incidents.

Without an end-to-end safety solution that can supplement and help you improve upon the safety measures you already have in place, not only is your team at risk of non-compliance, but the length of time needed to update your safety plan is greatly increased. Moreover, the overall cost of your program is likely to be significantly higher when you deal with multiple providers, as opposed to just one. 

Question: Does your safety partner manufacture their own line of PPE?

As a user of PPE you are fortunate to have a wide-variety of companies from which to purchase. However, not all providers of PPE are going to be right for your firm. While it is true many safety companies sell the same national brands, the differentiator are safety partners who manufacturer their own line of PPE.  To be clear, we are not referring to national manufacturers who will simply rebrand their current line with the logo of a safety company. Instead, we are referring to a safety company who actually manufactures their own organic line.

In addition, when differentiating between those firms who manufacture their own private brand, it is important to ask if the safety provider has a research and development team. A R&D team shows a commitment to not only stay ahead of marketplace needs, but to continuously testing and improving their line.

One additional benefit of working with a safety partner who also manufactures is the ability to customize product specific to your needs. If, for example, safety would be enhanced at your facility by providing team members with a customized glove with attributes that are not on the market, a safety partner with manufacturing capability can deliver you this glove. This type of flexibility to custom manufacture with the end user’s input is not found with traditional safety product distributors.

The benefits of buying a safety partner’s own line of PPE include getting the same high quality (and sometimes even higher quality) as the national brands, but at a lower cost. The ability to produce product at a lower cost is due to several factors, including lower overhead, no advertising/promotional expenses, vertical integration with similar products and lower shipping costs by eliminating the wholesaler. 

The reality is, while paying the lowest cost for PPE might appear to help your bottom line today, it is only when a comprehensive culture of safety is created at your company that you can expect real savings. Savings that greatly exceed the couple of cents you may receive on each pair of a bulk glove order. You should be striving for real and significant savings that come from lower incident rates, lower workers’ comp claims and happier employees.

In our next blog we will turn our attention to delivery-related issues and the importance of working with a safety partner who wants to help you create a culture of safety, not just sell you "stuff."

To get our comprehensive white paper, titled “6 Critical Questions To Ask Before Selecting A Safety Partner,” click here. If you would like to speak with an Arbill safety expert and learn more about the safety-related products, programs and training we offer, call us at 800-523-5367.

Have a safe day! 


Topics: Arbill, reduce workplace injuries, protect workers, OSHA, Keep workers safe, workplace safety tips

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