There were two reasons for the new range of industrial clothing, explains Enexis safety expert Peter Kikkert. Firstly, their current contract with PWG, the clothing manufacturer of protective industrial clothing, had expired. In addition, the network company Essent was demerged on 1 January 2009 and Enexis came into being (see frame). This required a new identity, name and corporate style, which meant that the new clothing range, in accordance with product specifications still to be drawn up, was put out to tender in Europe.
A multifunctional team gathered suggestions, made inquiries in the regions in which Enexis operates, noted down the remarks picked up here and there and had tests carried out by rental laundries. This resulted in a list of requirements and European standards, which were submitted to Centexbel. This is an independent, accredited advisory and testing institute that sees to the CE-certification of protective clothing. Karin Klein Hesselink (End-use market manager industrial safety at TenCate Protect) explained the various possibilities and solutions for professional wear and protective clothing and the differences between the various fabrics.
Following the survey, came the specification. The new industrial clothing had to be fire-retardant, antistatic, water- and dirtrepellent, colour-fast, be suitable for use outdoors, have high visibility and be comfortable. In addition, the sleeves and trouser legs of clothing for employees working with gas had to be close- fitting, so that no gas could build up. Following the addition of the VIAG 2006 guideline (for work in the gas distribution industry) and talks with the three possible suppliers, the wish list was finalized. Four employees from each region then took part in a two-week wearer test in mid-2008. ‘These tests were extremely useful. Together with PWG, the eventual supplier, we devised solutions for any problem areas that emerged during the tests. Then the final design was decided.’
Grey-yellow and pink-lime
The design had to be in line with the corporate style and the logo that the Enexis rebranding team had designed. They decided to go for grey and (due to the required standards) fluorescent yellow with silver-coloured stripes. The logo consists of two interlinked E’s in pink and lime, in a checked pattern. The new range of clothing includes a multifunctional parka, pilot jacket, winter overalls, American overalls, work jacket, work trousers, a body-warmer, a sweater, one shirt with long sleeves and one with short, jeans, a rainproof suit and underclothing.
The largest group of wearers is made up of the operational staff. There is also an all-weather jacket worn by supervisory managers too. Apart from the rainproof suit and the underclothing, all the outer clothing is based on TenCate Tecasafe® XA 9002 – a comfortable fabric that meets all the wishes and requirements of safety.
So far 8,000 units of outer clothing have been supplied by the company Berendsen, which was awarded the industrial washing process contract during tendering. Each item of clothing had to have a label with name, location and personnel number of the employee affixed to it. This was supplied as far as possible in one batch. Several contracting companies that also work for Enexis have now started to wear clothing in conformity with these safety and comfort specifications. The gas and electricity teams, who can be recognized by the G or E on their right sleeve, are delighted with their new clothing.
In order to sound out experiences and to work on new developments, Enexis and PWG will constantly keep a finger on the pulse. Both are extremely interested in any new developments by TenCate and found the direct contact with the fabric manufacturer very useful.
Enexis, as independent grid/network manager, is responsible for the installation , maintenance and development of the transport (medium voltage ) and distribution networks for electricity and gas. The company thus enables energy supliers to be able to provide for continualy changing energy neds. Enexis operates in the north, east and south of the Netherlands. In these regions they manage almost 130,000 kilometres of electricity cables and 40,000 kilometres of gas pipelines for 2.6 milion customers. With its more than 3,500 employes, the company stands for the safety, quality, inovation and reliability of energy transport. Its head ofice is in Rosmalen (NL).