The PPE market is highly competitive in terms of price. Unfortunately, that's resulted in some factories cutting corners in an attempt to keep costs down. Often, that involves harmful chemicals and unethical processes. And that's why you need to know how to spot certifications that test clothing for harmful chemicals.

With so much of your supply chain out of your control, how can you be sure your textiles are manufactured responsibly and in a process that's free from dangerous substances? OEKO-TEX and STeP are two related certification systems that certify products that only include chemical-free, environmentally friendly textiles, and the manufacturers that make them.

For us, it’s yet another way to give you peace of mind when you order your PPE and workwear from us – and further reduce the risk caused by hazardous chemicals.

What is OEKO-TEX® certification?

Established in the 1990s, OEKO-TEX is an international association of indepeOEKP-TEX-certificationndent research and testing institutes focused on enhancing both product safety and sustainable production in the textile industry. The Association is made up of 16 member institutes with representative offices in more than 60 countries all over the world.When you buy an OEKO-TEX certified product, you’ll know that every part is free from dangerous chemicals – right down to the label. 

OEKO-TEX certification is only awarded after rigorous testing for harmful chemicals. That means you can confidently keep your wearers protected without increasing the risk of adverse skin reactions or allergens entering your processes.

Take our Premium Pique PolycottonPoloshirts, Sweatshirts, and the Engel Hi-Visibility range. They’re all garments that are typically worn all day, every day, so the risk of irritation and discomfort is high. That’s why we insist on OEKO-TEX certified textiles with no harmful substances to cause troublesome skin issues.

What is STeP certification?

STeP (Sustainable Textile Production) goes beyond product testing to consider the overall attitude, processes, and policies of a manufacturer. This includes areas such as:

  • Health and SafetySTeP
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
  • Ethics
  • Environmental Management

These are all assessed in an extensive independent audit, which can last as long as three months. As a result, you can be certain any textiles that enter your organisation have been produced in a world-class factory with the best accreditation.

The value of certified standards

What makes both of these standards so important is your peace of mind and protecting your brand reputation. After all, when you're bringing garments and textiles into your organisation, you have a duty to know where they come from and any risk that they may present.

According to one of our partners, the health and environmental risks are considerable:

"Standards have tightened a lot in the last few years, but there was a time when awful substances were used to cut corners. They'd cause wearer discomfort, rashes, and skin allergies - and that's not to mention the impact on the environment and safe disposal following fabric dying."

We're committed to products that are safe, ethical, and up to your expectations. That's why we think the OEKO-TEX and STeP standards are so vital.

Making it easy to see our accreditation

We know how important it is to order PPE with confidence, so we’re going to make it even easier to see our accreditation from now on. From Edition 8 of our catalogue, available in January 2017, we’ll be adding the relevant OEKO-TEX certification symbols to our products so you can quickly see which are certified free from harmful chemicals.

In the meantime, you can download our current catalogue now or enquire about our OEKO-TEX accredited PPE – we’re here to help.