Clothing Programs

It’s no secret that oil prices reached record lows over the past year. Whether falling oil prices have boosted or challenged your business, streamlining flame resistant clothing (FRC) procurement and maximizing worker safety compliance are always in season. Planning ahead is the best strategy to ensure you’re well positioned when market conditions become less favorable in your market sector.

Streamlining procurement of FRC can be particularly challenging:

  • FRC requires a large number of SKUs for styles, sizes, colors, etc.
  • There are typically a high number of transactions and a low value per transaction
  • Clothing is personal in nature, so there are a disproportionate number of issues as compared to personal protective equipment or other organizational purchases

However, FRC is also an area of significant opportunity for companies to stretch budget dollars and unlock savings while improving service, selection and worker protection. You just have to know where to look. Get started with these three steps:

1. Understand requirements for protecting workers

The first step in starting a program or making a change in FRC suppliers is to understand requirements for protecting workers:

  • What does NFPA 2112-certified mean?
  • What is the Manikin test (ASTM F1930) and how important is % body burn?
  • What is OSHA’s position on use of FRC in oil and gas?

Experienced, reputable suppliers have the knowledge and expertise to help educate management on the standards, giving the information needed to make prudent decisions on worker apparel.

2. Identify hidden costs in your current FRC program

Whether you have a lease and laundry program, a warehouse program or a direct purchase program, ancillary costs frequently have a material impact on your program’s bottom line. Consider miscellaneous fees, logistical challenges and management and employee time invested in administering — or problem-solving — the program. And don’t underestimate the cost of employee dissatisfaction — employees who are unhappy or uncomfortable in their FRC may open the door to costly compliance issues for your company or legal costs in the unthinkable event of an employee injury.

Do any of these scenarios ring true for you and your workers? If so, there’s room to save on FRC.

  • Workers purchase a standard treated FRC shirt at retail for $55 and bill back the company when negotiated vendor agreements could deliver the same item for 40% less. Plus, in the event of an OSHA audit or an employee incident, retail purchases are difficult to track, at best.
  • Workers are allocated five to seven sets of shirts and pants annually, regardless of what products they need and want — with unnecessary garments sitting in closets, unopened and unworn.
  • Outerwear is provided to each worker every year, despite the duplication and lack of need. How much could your company save on unused outerwear while still properly protecting and appropriately outfitting workers? And what other low-use items are replaced more frequently than necessary?
  • Workers purchase upgraded, fashion-forward FRC jeans at upwards of $90 per pair without regard to budgetary impact.
  • Workers are frustrated with the industrial laundry and weekly turn-ins have declined significantly, but you’re still paying the same weekly price for the service.

If any of these scenarios hit home, there is significant opportunity for savings.

3. Identify and leverage savings opportunities within your current FRC program

To understand where you can realize savings within your current FRC program, conduct a survey on existing FRC spending patterns, understand where and how workers are purchasing FRC and compile a consolidated, realistic overview of total spend.  Armed with that information, you’re ready to begin cutting costs.

Introducing spend controls is the primary tool used by safety and supply managers to save on FRC.  Effective controls are contingent on learnings — once you’ve identified hidden costs. Experienced suppliers have the knowledge to guide you on how to use that information to meet your ultimate objective: developing and implementing a program that meets management requirements and drives safety compliance with workers. Savings of up to 30% is not uncommon.

Leverage the real-life experience of others in the industry who have gone through the process. For example, Stallion Oilfield Services was able to maximize service levels while streamlining procurement and saving significantly on costs.

Get started today with a complimentary webinar

Ready to get started with a primer on the flash fire hazard? Want help identifying and mitigating those hidden costs? Join Robert Whittenberger, president of Tyndale Company, Inc., and Todd Mucha, director of QHSE of Stallion Oilfield Services, for a free webinar to explore four examples of ineffective FRC practices that have real costs — and practical solutions. Your company may realize savings from 30% or more. Register now or visit to request an invitation!

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Request a complimentary consultation to help identify opportunities to streamline your FRC program.