Step 7: Supplier selection When evaluating protective garments on which the health and safety of workers depend it is important to take into account the manufacturer concerned s reputation, accreditations, strength of brand, business credentials, ethical standing and environmental record, in addition to the basic garment requirements. An exceptional manufacturer of protective clothing will actively embrace the principles of customer service and business integrity and these core values will be embedded throughout the organisation. It will be committed to the highest standards of quality, safety, respect for people, corporate governance and environmental stewardship all of which will have been translated into publicly-available policies and procedures.

Some additional questions you might ask potential suppliers include:

9 Does the company offer Customer Service support (technical support hotline, customer focused websites and tools, wear trials)?

9 Does the company offer open access to product data e.g. can the company provide comprehensive permeation data for its products?

9 Can it demonstrate exemplary case studies/user references? 9 What is the product development process? 9 Is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) one of the company s core corporate principles or business objectives? Does the company publish a CSR Policy or issue regular CSR reports?

9 Does the company have a formal Sustainability Policy? 9 Has the company publicized a Code of Conduct/Ethics? 9 Is the company ISO 14001 registered for Environmental Management Systems? 9 Does the company have a rigorous Quality Management System (QMS) in place and operate a Quality Management System to ISO 9001?

9 What is the company s trading background? 9 Is the company fi nancially secure? 9 How is the company perceived in the media?

At a product level the manufacturer should ensure that in addition to the highest standards of quality, the protective garments should be free from hazardous or banned ingredients, free from SVHC s (REACH compliant), not present hazards to the ecosystem and not include skin allergens or sensitisers. Garment production facilities, whether in-house or outsourced, must embrace the principles of safety, employee welfare and social responsibility and be managed and periodically audited to ensure compliance. The manufacturer should provide a high level of pre- and after-sales service and support ideally including training programmes, testing services, selection tools, risk-analysis guidance and permeation data.

ISO 9001 ISO 14001