National Safety Apparel working with coalition for the greater good
Posted April 30, 2020
By Devin Steele (DSteele@eTextileCommunications.com)
Cleveland, Ohio-based apparel manufacturer National Safety Apparel® (NSA) is contributing to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) PPE initiatives in the fight against COVID-19.
The company is working in partnership with the Hanes coalition of U.S. textile companies and small- and medium-sized apparel manufacturers to produce 1.5 million+ face masks per week in the U.S. It has also partnered with a textile manufacturer and other partners to manufacture gowns, and has shifted a significant portion of our capacity to support these programs.
In addition, National Safety Apparel is continuing to manufacture safety apparel for critical businesses, including electrical utilities, the Armed Forces, the U.S. Postal Service and more.
The company is manufacturing face protection, gowns and other PPE for these essential workers to protect themselves and others in the field. This face protection is meant to discourage touching of the nose and mouth as well as decrease the spread of the wearer’s airborne particles from coughing or sneezing. Flame-resistant face masks, neck gaiters, bandanas and other PPE are also being produced in order to stay compliant to flame-resistant standards on the job.
Although NSA had not produced these specific types of face masks or gowns in the past, it has been known for agile manufacturing and customizable designs in the safety apparel market since 1935. The company often designs and manufactures custom garments and launches multiple new products quarterly. With an in-house design team and two manufacturing facilities in Cleveland and Chicago, NSA is able to pivot quickly to design and begin manufacturing products needed in the fight against COVID-19.
NSA is running normal hours at both of its facilities and is working on strategies to help increase output on critical products, according to Toby Bielenbert, vice president of Strategic Operations.
“Since National Safety Apparel has designed and manufactured safety apparel and PPE in the United States for over 80 years, it was a straightforward effort for us to make these new products,” he said. “Our strengths include speed to market for new products as well as our ability to customize. Our in-house design team, product management, sales, marketing, supply chain and production teams have been able to use processes already in place to manufacture these new products.”
Although NSA has experienced some attendance issues during this time like most companies with the school shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders, the company is considered an essential business and continues to operate with a full staff, Bielenberg said. Its Human Resources team is engaging with employees, supplying PPE to its team and putting cleaning and sanitization measures in place.
“The safety and health of our NSA family of employees and customers is of the utmost importance,” he said.
“Our employees are eager to help and excited to do something for the greater good by helping in the fight against this global pandemic,” he added.
Due to the large number of products NSA is manufacturing, goals and production numbers are always evolving, he pointed out. Its No. 1 goal is to provide all of our customers with mission critical PPE when they need it, he said.
NSA’s biggest challenge has been on raw material supply, according to Bielenberg. “However, we are very fortunate to work with suppliers who are working harder than ever to ensure we have the fabrics and materials that we need,” he said.
Added CEO Chuck Grossman: “We’re glad to contribute our capabilities to the fight against COVID-19 and keep as many NSA workers as possible employed during these challenging times. While we are allocating significant production resources in Cleveland and Chicago to the cause, we remain committed to producing safety clothing for workers in essential businesses such as electric utilities, the Armed Forces and the U.S. Postal Service.”