Protective Industrial Products

PIPPIP not only keeps workers safe with its products, but also comfortable and confident.

By Alan Dorich, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Publishing

It pays to have the right tool for the right job, but there are situations where the best tools are your hands. Keeping those parts of your body well protected also is a priority, and that is where Protective Industrial Products (PIP) thrives.

The Latham, N.Y.-based company provides hand, head, arm, eye and hearing protection products to the construction, electrical safety, emergency responder, foodservice and processing, and critical environment sectors. Vice President of Global Marketing Anthony Di Giovanni notes that PIP started operations in 1984.PIP info box

PIP began as a 50-50 partnership between Joe Milot, based in the United States, and Welson Tao, who was from Hong Kong. “Today, PIP is a $265 million company with 10 locations around the world,” Di Giovanni says.

“The largest product line is hand protection – where we got our roots and where our customers know us best,” he says, noting that the company has pioneered many innovative gloves with DuPont® Kevlar® and DSM Dyneema®. “Today, we continue these developments with new PIP coating technologies, such as NeoFoam® and our new G-Tek® engineered yarn glove technologies, such as PolyKor®, Suprene® and X-7™.”

Up to the Test

Staying innovative is key for PIP’s leadership in the hand protection market. While this keeps the company ahead of its competition, “You need to have products to match the needs of the customers – and those needs are always changing,” Di Giovanni says.

PIP also focuses on strengthening performance standards. Although there is a strong ANSI standard for gloves in North America, “Specifying it is left completely up to the user,” Di Giovanni says. “This is unlike Europe, where glove manufacturers must test to standards [by] using recognized third-party labs and be prepared to provide proof along with their declarations of conformity.”

PIP tests its gloves to ensure they meet ANSI and EN standards. “Because we are a global glove provider of work gloves, many of our gloves are third-party tested to meet global standards,” he adds.

Product Confidence

PIP’s products help boost worker productivity. “It was not so long ago when work gloves were predominantly made of bulky leather or fabric, when you’d often hear a worker say, “I can’t do this job with these gloves on!’” Di Giovanni recalls.

Usually, the worker took off the gloves before grabbing or lifting a heavy object with his or her bare hands. “It was not only dangerous because it exposed hands to the risk of cuts, but also because it may have a compromised grip – making the job more strenuous and less productive,” he says.

Because not all hands or jobs are the same, “The worker must feel comfortable with the choice of glove,” Di Giovanni says. PIP’s products can meet that need by offering the right form and fit as well as cut resistance and a secure grip that can help lift and hold onto heavy objects. 

Instead of having workers toss gloves off before grabbing something, “We often hear the words, ‘Hang on – I can’t do this without my gloves!’” Di Giovanni says. “That’s what we strive for: protection and confidence to do the job.”

PIP has watched the safety industry change over the last 30 years. “More than ever, distributors of construction equipment, tools and materials have taken on safety products to help provide workers with the right solution,” Di Giovanni says.

More progressive distributors, he notes, have aligned themselves with PIP in order to get training needed to help safety managers make decisions on jobsites. “Finding the right work glove or PPE is not obvious,” he admits.

“There are no instructions to give a worker the sense of the form, fit and feel,” Di Giovanni continues. “That can only happen with on-site visits from your PIP distributor and PIP representative.”

The attitudes of the workers themselves have changed as well. “Today’s modern construction worker doesn’t consider calloused hands with cuts as a badge of honor,” he says.

Instead, they insist on using products that protect them and make their job easier, like the safety eyewear that PIP offers. “Today’s modern worker does not want oversized retro-looking glasses,” he says. “They want eyewear that is modern, low profile, light, secure and they want options in lens technologies.”

For example, a journeyperson with a job that requires them to go from low light indoor conditions to bright sunshine will need glasses with I/O and Fogless® technology. “That lens will have a slightly grey tint and a special coating – keeping the pupil at a more constant level of dilation and the lens free from fogging up,” he says.

A Big Focus

PIP also has watched regulations change, including those related to the dangers posed by Silica. “Silica dust, which is emitted when sawing concrete and blocks, has proven to be harmful when accumulated in the lungs,” Di Giovanni says.

OSHA and other industry leaders have responded with regulations and guidelines regarding the mandatory use of respirators. “To workers or safety managers, it can be overwhelming or time consuming to try to figure out what is needed,” he says.

But that is where companies like PIP can help. “They can quickly guide and train construction crews on respirator selection as well as proper fitting,” he says. “Respiratory protection is a big focus in the construction industry today.”

Going forward, Di Giovanni says, PIP plans to continue developing innovative products that help protect workers and allow them to complete jobs more comfortably and confidently. “All workers that are more comfortable work more effectively and more efficiently – it’s a win-win for all,” he says. 

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