Friday, 29 May 2015

Be Your Own Branding Billboard

You have a business card, right? Maybe even a website branded with your logo with images and content that reflect what your company is about and the services you offer.  You might even have a small (or large) marketing budget that allows you to place adverts in media that your local, national or international customer base visit on a regular basis.

So how else do customers find your business?  Still to this day, word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool. No matter how big your marketing budget, you cannot buy the belief and trust that a family or friend will give somebody when they recommend a company they have had a good experience with.  

So how about the next best thing? What you wear. 

To fully appreciate the impact that branding your workwear can have, we need to dig a little deeper to understand the human psyche.

There's a reason why Ralph Lauren embroiders their clothing with their logo. Well, there's two really.  One, you can instantly recognise what brand of polo shirt is being worn, and, in the process, whoever is wearing that polo shirt is advertising Ralph Lauren.

And two, it makes the wearer feel a certain way; "I don't sell clothes, I sell a lifestyle".

Now, the majority of workwear isn't going to be a £90 Ralph Lauren polo shirt.  But the same principles apply.  By branding your workwear either with embroidery or print you are achieving several things.  You and your staff are a walking, talking billboard for your company.  Whether you pop into town for your lunch or are out and about in general, people will notice your web url on your back, or a logo on the front of your shirt.  

By branding your workwear you are making a statement. "This is what i believe in. I'm proud to work for this company."  If you believe in your company, so will your customers.

Initiating a staff workwear policy with branded clothing can instill a sense of pride in your staff.  A sense of belonging and being part of a team. 

Also, and quite an important but a simple note to remember, is make sure your workwear is fresh, clean and presentable.  Make sure you ditch the tired, grubby workwear and replace it regularly to keep you and your staff looking smart.  If you look untidy and 'unkept' that doesn't give the best message for your company.  Allowing your staff to wear clothing with holes or logos flaking off can do more harm than good to the reputation of your business.

And remember, first impressions really do count.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015


With the recent news that one Irish school, Gormanston College in Co Meath, is to make its uniform high-vis in a bid to keep its students safe, we take a look at the importance of high-visibility clothing outside of its 'highway and construction' label. 

More and more cyclists, runners, horseriders, bikers and anyone hitting our roads for leisure or otherwise,  are getting kitted out in neon high visibility clothing so they can be more easily seen by drivers whatever the weather conditions and whatever the time of day.

In many European countries it is a legal requirement to carry a high visibility tabard or waistcoat for every occupant in your vehicle in case of breakdown.
Here in the UK many children wear dark uniforms. Whether school children are walking, cycling or just crossing the road after being dropped off in a car, it can be hard to see children wearing dark clothing, especially on misty, rainy mornings and even more so during Winter months when light fades quicker. Some coats, bags or shoes may feature reflective trims which help with visibility after dark but are not enough for daytime and twilight visibility.
Just by observing the difference wearing or not wearing hi-vis can make is clearly seen with this horse and rider;

Around 16 horse riders are killed each year on our roads, and one teenager is campaigning to make wearing high visibility clothing whilst riding out a legal requirement.
There's a reason why many workplaces enforce the use of high-visibility clothing, one of safety and reduction in accidents.  If we were to apply the same mentality to all who use our highways, whether it be on a school run, hacking out on horse back, cycling to and from work, one can't help but wonder what the overall reduction in road accidents would be.
When it comes to the safety of our friends, family, and even pets, there should be no compromise on their safety.  Hi-Vis clothing is an extremely cost effective solution to help make sure you are seen well in advance to help avoid accidents which could otherwise be avoided.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015


As groundskeeping and landscaping starts to ramp up for another season we take a look at some of the most spectacular and well maintained golf courses across the globe. 

#10 Sand Hills Golf Club - Nebraska

Nestled among the cowboys and grazing cattle of the Sandhills region of Nebraska lies a magnificent plot of golfing grounds. Based on the philosophy that traditional, strategic golf is the most rewarding, Sand Hills opened for play in 1995.

Sand Hills is a big course, on a big scale and you either need to be a very good golfer to navigate the crater like bunkers, or a very lucky one indeed.

#9 Muirfield - Scotland

One of the world's oldest golf clubs, Murfield has rightly earned the status of one of the best golf clubs in the world. Renowned for its unusual layout of its time, it was the first to be designed with two concentric rings of nine holes. The outward nine holes run clockwise around the edge, and the inner nine run anti-clockwise. The layout ensures the wind hits you from all directions, but it is said that playing Murfield both downwind and upwind is tricky.

#8 Royal Melbourne Golf Club - Australia

The Royal Melbourne consists of a West Course, an East Course and a Composite Course, but it is the West Course that is recognised as one of the world's finest golf courses due to a combination of great design and construction. It is "full of dramatic undulation, fertile sandy soil and a natural rugged appearance".  The greens are meticulously maintained and for decades have produced the finest putting surfaces in Australia.

#7 National Golf Links of America - Long Island, New York

This private 18 hole course covering 285 acres is located on Peconic Bay in the Town of Southampton, New York. First opening for play in 1909 to a rapturous standing ovation. Among the famous holes represented at the National are the Road Hole and Eden from St Andrews, Alps from Prestwick, Redan from North Berwick and Sahara from Sandwich. The National has inspired a number of golf architects who have made frequent visits to study some of its challenging and enduring features.

#6 Augusta National Golf Club - Georgia USA

Home of the Masters, the Augusta is one of the world's most exclusive clubs. The concept of the design was that the course should be a true test of championship golf, but, more than that, it should be a pleasure for all classes of golfer to play. Every year one or two of the holes are changed to increase their playing value.  

The Masters is the only Major to be played every year on the same course and meaning anyone remotely interested in golf is familiar with the course thanks to the extensive media coverage.  Billions of people may feel they know the course, but only a lucky few will be fortunate to actually play it.

#5 Shinnecock Hills Golf Club - New York, USA

An old club, with old traditions not only was Shinnecock Hills Golf Club one of the five founding members of the USGA but it is home of the one of the first purpose built clubhouses was erected.   

Known for utilising the outstanding features within which it lies, such as the prevailing winds off the Atlantic to the southwest, the rolling sandy terrain and the thick reed-like grasses that border the fairways, Shinnecocks ambience has been described as evoking feelings of the British seaside links.

#4 St Andrews - Scotland

Often referred to as the spiritual home of golf, St Andrews boasts a very special links course, designed by Mother Nature.  It's likely that golf was played at St Andrews way back in the 12th century, but what is certain is that the Old course is one of the oldest golf courses in the world.

However, the Old course at St Andrews isn't always an instant hit with those that play it for the first time. Indeed, first timers may be disappointed. It is talked about as a course that you have to get to know and love. media pictures often don't do it justice, making the ground look very flat. You need to get out there and experience the humps, hollows and ripples in the fairways for yourself as they are more undulating than you think. 

It is said that every true golfer should play this course at least once. Dr Alister MacKenzie wrote in his book, The Spirit of St Andrews: "A good golf course is like good music or anything else: it is not necessarily a course which appeals the first time one plays over it; but one which grows on a player the more frequently he visits it."

#3 Royal County Down Golf Club - Ireland

Royal County Down is located in one of the world’s most naturally beautiful links settings in the Murlough Nature Reserve. Against the magnificent backdrop of the Mountains of Mourne, the links stretches along the shores of Dundrum Bay, zigzagging back and forth to provide a different vista from virtually every hole.

The ‘bearded’ bunkers are world famous and feature overhanging lips of marram, red fescue and heather. The greens are fast and many are domed, rejecting any shot lacking conviction. This is a true test of any player’s command of the traditional bump and run, the preferred way to play any links.

The ninth hole is one of the most photographed holes in world golf. A 486 yard par 4, it is played from one side of a huge mound down to a fairway some 60 ft below and 260 yards from the tee. From the bottom of the slope the second shot is played over two bunkers to a raised green.

The site at Royal County Down covers 320 acres but only 17% is intensively managed and the rest remains in a near-natural state. Within the managed areas the club has pursued several specific policies that have had significant positive effects.

#2 Cypress Point Club - California, USA

Cypress Point Club is a notoriously exclusive club and unless you are rubbing shoulders with one of the restricted 250 members, you may never get the chance to tee up.  Rumours have it that even J.F. Kennedy was once refused entry to the restaurant.

Often described as "The best 17-hole course in the world" Cypress Point Club is set on the very tip of the Monterey Peninsula and the cliff top terrain is challenging and thrilling.

#1 Pine Valley Golf Club - New Jersey, USA

Pine Valley officially opened in 1919, taking seven years to complete. It took a further three years from opening for anybody to get round in 70 strokes and it quickly became renowned worldwide as the ultimate test of golf. 

Robert Trench Jones describes Pine Valley in his book, Complete Golfer, as: "Pine Valley fills you with dread and takes your breath's a monster, but it's beautiful.  It is frequently alluded to as the most difficult course in the world, and this reputation is justified.  To my way of thinking, it also possesses more classic holes than any other course in the world - ten of the eighteen.  Of the remaining holes, five are outstanding, two are good, and one, the 12th, is ordinary, which, at Pine Valley, is tantamount to being a misfit."

Friday, 31 October 2014

Asbestos in the Workplace

Currently the subject of a huge campaign by HSE, the issue of asbestos in the workplace is one that should be acknowledged and understood by anyone who's work may bring them into contact with this deadly material, all too commonly found hiding in industrial, commercial and private properties.

Asbestos can be found in many of the common building materials of any house or building which was built before 2000 and it's effects account for, on average, the deaths of 20 tradespeople per week.

Contact with asbestos can occur when materials containing it are disturbed or damaged causing fibres to be released into the air. When these fibres are inhaled they can, over many years, cause serious diseases. Once the disease has developed it is often to late to do anything about it, therefore it is important to protect yourself now.

Where Is Asbestos Found? 

Asbestos is tricky to spot as it will usually be mixed in with other materials and can be found in multiple materials throughout a building, so care should be taken on any job where it may be uncovered. Some of its hiding places in industrial buildings include:

• Sprayed on coatings on walls, ceilings, beams and columns
• Asbestos cement
• Loose fill insulation
• AIB ceiling tiles, partition walls, fire doors (Asbestos Insulating Board)
• Vinyl floor tiles
• Textured decorative coating on walls and ceiling (such as Artex)
• Asbestos cement can also be found outside the building on the roof, in panels, gutters and downpipes.

In private homes it may be found in:

• Loose fill insulation
• Asbestos cement water tank
• AIB ceiling tiles, bath panel, partition walls, interior window panel, around boiler and behind fire
• Vinyl floor tiles
• Outside the building in panels, roofing, roofing felt and AIB exterior window panels

Where an employee is likely to be exposed to asbestos the employer should provide them with suitable PPE, appropriate for their job. Self employed tradespeople will need to properly kit themselves out in protective clothing. The following PPE is suitable for short term, non-licensed work only.

Disposable Overalls

• Use only disposable overalls as cotton may hold on to dust and fibres and would require specialist laundering. Use Type 5 (BS EN ISO 13982-1)
• Wear one size too big to prevent tearing
• If cuffs are loose seal them with tape
• Avoid wearing a long sleeve shirt as they are difficult to cover properly
• Wear overall legs over footwear, tucking them in will let dust into the shoe/ boot
• Wear the hood of the coverall over the RPE straps
• Dispose of used coveralls as asbestos waste


• If wearing protective gloves opt for single use, disposable ones. If you must wear latex gloves choose only 'low protein powder-free' gloves
• Dispose of gloves as asbestos waste


• Boots are preferable to overshoes which may pose a slipping risk
• Never use laced boots as these are difficult to properly clean

Respiratory Protection

Use suitable, well fitting RPE with an Assigned Protection Factor of 20 or more. Suitable types of RPE include:

• A disposable respirator to standards EN149 (type FFP3) or EN1827 (type FMP3)
• A half mask respirator to standard EN140 with a P3 filter, or;
• A semi-disposable respirator to EN405 with a P3 filter

When using RPE a fit test before use is essential to ensure the product fits well enough to be effective. RPE should be worn until well out of the area of contaminated air. As with all projects, the work should be well planned with the help of a risk assessment.

More information on asbestos can be found on the HSE Microsite >>

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Huge new range of Portwest Workwear Now Online at

We have been very busy extending our range of  Portwest workwear, PPE and workwear accessories and are pleased to now be able to offer you a huge selection of products from this popular workwear supplier. In our online store you can now find Portwest;

Work Gloves and Disposable Gloves
Flame Retardant Workwear
Goggles and Eye Protection
Hi-Vis Workwear
Fall and Body Protection
Safety Helmets
Hearing Protection
Healthcare Tunics
Work Jackets

Plus a very wide range of workplace and PPE accessories including knee-pads, comfort mats, first aid kits, torches and dust masks plus much more.

Established for over 100 years, Portwest have proven experience of the design and manufacture of workwear, PPE, safety footwear, work gloves and are best known for their flame retardant and hi vis workwear products. A trusted and popular brand our customers love their quality and competitive prices.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Product Testing and Safety Standards in the PPE Market

For detailed information about safety standards on specific types of PPE, see our Buyers Guides >

Buying workwear and PPE can be a difficult and time consuming task. Not only must you find your way through the myriad of products available to find the exact product to meet the exact requirements of your workplace, but increasingly you must also be alert for fake or 'knock-off' products. In the fashion world these forgeries are poor quality and tacky at worst. In the workwear and PPE markets they are potentially life threatening. Unfortunately the counterfeiters get better at this all the time, so how can you be sure that the products you are buying have been tested and are certified to EU standards?

The first and easiest way to manage this risk is to source from reputable companies. Look for an established distributor who has a good standing and customer base. If unsure, ask other buyers who they feel confident buying from.

Secondly, legislation is in place that requires all PPE to be designed, manufactured, tested, marked and packaged in line with European Norms (EN's or standard practices) which are appropriate to the hazards and conditions they are designed to protect against.

Published legislation requires that each product is:

1/ Tested to standardised test procedure for the hazards that it guards against. Testing must be carried out using calibrated equipment, by an authorised testing house. Information or test results provided by the manufacturer is not acceptable as it cannot be guaranteed to be impartial.

2/ Clearly marked with the CE mark and the relevant EN code and information about the level or type of hazard it is designed for (this is usually displayed as a standardised abbreviation or pictogram). If it is not possible to mark the product, this information will instead be displayed on the packaging. The manufacturer will also be listed using a pre-allocated code character and the code number of the certifying body must also be shown.

3/ Includes a leaflet about or information on the outer packaging describing the uses for which the product is intended, with clear instructions on the correct use of the product.

4/ Suitably packaged in a way that protects the product in a fully functional condition.

5/ Re-tested on a regular basis to ensure the continued safety and effectiveness of the product.

You will sometimes see national standards used on products, such as the BS mark. These standards are still applicable so long as they fall in, or exceed, the European Norm.

CE marking alone is not enough to prove that a product is suitable for a particular requirement, only that it meets basic requirements. For more detailed information about specific products and types of PPE, see the Buyers Guides on our website, which guide you through the safety standards and features of a wide range of PPE.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Back to School Workwear and Safety Clothing

Up and down the country this week school gates are creaking open again and there's an impossibly long queue at the coffee machine as the autumn term kicks into gear. At we have many customers in the education sector who come to us to kit out their staff and students in high quality workwear and protective clothing. If you're a teacher or school employee returning after summer, we hope this week treats you well!

Some of the most popular items we supply to school, colleges and nurseries include our range of sweatshirts, polos and t-shirts, all of which are perfect for logo or name embroidery and are ideal for staff and are also available in our children's range. We also have selection of popular children's hat styles which many of our customers have embroidered for students.

Health and safety is also important in schools and we supply lab coats and protective goggles to schools and colleges as well. Our safety boots and trainers are also popular for school activity trips and practical work and there are some stylish options in there for fashion conscious teens.

For the janitors and groundsmen we have a superb range of coveralls, working waterproofs and work gloves and there are some fantastic winter coverall options available in the range too.