Workrite Uniform Company has been a trailblazer in the flame-resistant (FR) clothing industry since it was founded in 1973. Four decades later, the California based business continues to bring exciting new firsts to the market, earning its place as a global leader in safety apparel.
Quality is paramount in the safety apparel business. “These products are not just garments, they are safety equipment,” says FR Technical Manager Mark Saner. “Safety is the number one priority. We know these garments are going to be worn by people in potentially hazardous environments and we want them to perform the way they are supposed to.” To ensure top performance, the team maintains a focus on the Three Cs of Quality: quality components, quality construction and quality control.
Workrite Uniform’s quality components only come from the most trusted fabric suppliers. “We have visited the mills, we have seen the processes, we work with their quality control people,” says Mr. Saner. “We know that they are going to put out a product that is going to meet the requirements day in and day out. We know we are getting high quality, trusted products that have been physically tested out in the laboratory, that have been in the market, that have been exposed to hazards, that have [stood] the test of time. That gives us reassurance that we are working with products that will do their job.”
Workrite Uniform uses the utmost care to turn these quality components into safety garments. “Our garment construction is second to none,” Mr. Saner states. From heavy-duty seams and fade resistant fabric to ripstop technology and multiple reinforcements, these garments are made to last.
Quality control is guaranteed through ISO 9001 quality control processes. “They [ISO certifiers] come in and audit us on a regular basis to make sure that we are following the processes that we have documented, that we are looking at continuous improvement methods, that we are always upgrading our systems and processes.” These quality control processes come into play throughout the production cycle. “From day one until the garments are finished, [we] make sure that there aren’t any problems. We have inspections throughout the process to make sure there aren’t any issues along the way. We make sure that when it leaves this place it is exactly the way it is supposed to be and it is the highest level quality that we can make.”
Workrite Uniform relies on customer feedback to produce garments that meet market needs. “We deliver trusted, high quality, market-leading FR apparel solutions by working closely with end users to find the best garments for their environment,” Mr. Saner reports. “We develop garments ideally suited for the application by gaining feedback from end users and sharing that feedback with our fabric mills. We carry multiple fabrics and brands to allow the users to find what works best for them and even provide trial garments that allow workers to test how well the clothing performs in their actual job environment.”
The company sells clothing to a wide range of workers, so providing a variety of options is critical. Workplace safety – and comfort – is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. “We provide lots of options because that gives the user a chance to decide which one is going to be best suited to their application. We give you lots of different options, lots of different weights, lots of different comfort levels. Whatever is most important to you, we want to make sure we have that option available.”
Workrite Uniform produces four major brands: Workrite® FR, Dickies® FR, Walls® FR and Workrite® Fire Service. Workrite FR is the company’s market-leading line. “It features precision-manufactured clothing that combines top-quality fabrics with renowned FR expertise to ensure all of our garments hold up to the highest standards,” Mr. Saner reports. “The brand offers optimal durability, flexible customization options and an extremely broad range of garment styles. It also provides consistent, long-lasting FR clothing that fits customers’ needs for protection, comfort and long-term value.”
Dickies® FR is inspired by the decades-long heritage of the Dickies name, delivering the brand’s famous fit and functionality in addition to fire resistance. The line includes a range of Dickies’ most popular workwear styles, fashioned with the highest quality fabrics and the team’s flame-resistant expertise.
Walls® FR offers classic workwear styles designed for flame-resistant protection and functionality. “The Walls FR brand provides functional FR clothing with both safety and value in mind,” says Mr. Saner. “It offers a variety of workwear styles designed to meet both the industry’s FR performance standards and the budgetary needs of work environments, such as those found in the oil and gas drilling industry.”
The Workrite Fire Service line delivers fire protection as well as a crisp, professional look and easy care. Specialized construction techniques ensure durability, while DuPont Nomex IIIA fabric delivers market-leading flame-resistance. The line also utilizes Workrite Uniform’s unique PerfectPress™ permanent press process, which reduces fabric shrinkage during laundering and permanently heat sets creases for a smarter look. “Our Workrite Fire Service uniforms are NFPA 1975 certified and provide the most professional-looking, easy-care FR uniforms available today,” Mr. Saner adds.
The company’s newest product is the Workrite FR Tactical Pant, which is made from a unique, lightweight ripstop fabric. Created for both industrial workers and fire fighters, the pants deliver comfort and functionality via an elastic waist, an articulated knee and cargo pockets. “These garments are worn in harsh work environments. You want to have something durable. And you also want them lightweight and comfortable. So this is lighter weight than your typical pant fabric, but it is also durable.”
Produced by Glen Raven, this lightweight-yet-durable fabric also holds its color remarkably well. “The fibers are dyed, not the fabric,” Mr. Saner says of Glen Raven’s special dying process. “The dye is throughout the fiber so it cannot be worn off. The example they give is a carrot versus a radish. A radish has color on the outside and white in the middle, but a carrot has color throughout. All these fibers have color throughout. They have done multiple tests where they put [the fibers] in beakers of bleach and let it sit there for hours and it still maintains its color.”
Workrite Uniform is undergoing an exciting northward expansion. “We’ve always had some presence in Canada but we decided to go all in by opening an office and warehouse in Edmonton — plus, we are now developing styles specific to the Canadian market,” Mr. Saner reports. “With staff and distribution centers based in the country and garments tailored specifically for Canadian industries, we are well equipped to serve the unique needs of the Canadian market.”
The team is also upping their efforts to educate consumers on fire protection. “Another one of our primary goals is to raise awareness on the need for FR clothing. We do so by offering a variety of educational resources to our customers and hope to incorporate a training course program for our customers in the future.”
The team also plans to keep pushing for product improvement. “We are always looking for something new because that is what the end user is looking for – something new, something better, whether it is lighter weight, more protective, or longer lasting.” After all, delivering the best safety apparel is what Workrite Uniform is all about – and after 42 years in business, the team is determined to continue leading the market. “We plan to continue searching for ways to improve our products and develop new styles based on the needs of the workers in the oil and gas, petrochemical, electrical utility, laboratory and fire service industries by exploring new fabrics and markets to ensure our products are always innovative and of the highest quality.”