Man in insulated work jacket and pants sweeping floor in freezer warehouse

Case Study: Reducing Employee Turnover with the Right Gear for the Conditions

Gear Comfort Rated to the Right Temperature Improves Employee Morale and Performance

The Customer

This RefrigiWear customer is one of the largest cold storage companies in the world. They have facilities around the United States, managing frozen food products for companies world wide. At this specific facility in the Northwest, employees are using pallet jacks and forklifts to move product in a range of temperatures from 30° F to -10°F, requiring insulated protective clothing. 

The Problem

This facility wasn’t providing PPE to employees, so employees were responsible for purchasing their own. There wasn’t an outlined safety program or guide for employees, meaning they were on their own making decisions on the gear they bought to keep themselves protected at work. This often led to them buying cheap gear that couldn’t handle the long days or the low temperatures. Their gear wasn’t getting the job done in more ways than one; freezer employees were cold, productivity was dropping, morale was falling. And expenses were rising quickly due to the high turnover rate

With a turnover rate of 62%, a few things became apparent:

  1. Employee morale and productivity needed a boost
  2. Employees in the freezer needed warmer gear
  3. Employees needed gear that could handle the job without slowing them down and falling apart

“Since transitioning from employees purchasing their own PPE for the cold conditions to providing RefrigiWear products for each employee, we have been able to cut our turnover percentage from approximately 62% down to 34% and turnover continues to decline. This shows that if we are able to protect the employees from head to toe, they will be more inclined to work in the environment longer and more comfortably, increasing efficiency and employee’s overall wellbeing within the company.”

– Company Operations Manager 

The Solutions

Though it required a higher upfront cost, providing PPE to employees was the best way to make sure they were protected. This would help with protection, productivity, and morale. Plus, turnover rates would shrink and so would the associated costs. We recommended a standard head-to-toe uniform that would be adjusted as necessary depending on an employee’s specific tasks.

For body protection we recommended our PolarForce® Jacket and PolarForce® Bib Overalls. These garments are rated to -40°F and have Performance-Flex at key flex-points to keep movement easy even in insulated gear. The PolarForce® Collection is made up of high-performance gear perfect for multiple jobs in the freezer. The Bibs pair nicely with the PolarForce® Sweatshirt for more physical jobs. To protect the rest of the body, we recommended the PolarForce® Hiker Boots, PolarForce® Gloves, our knit watch caps, and the Silver Magic Neck Gaiter. This complete head-to-toe outfit would protect from the cold even when temps felt colder than actual due to wind chill or lack of movement from driving. A mesh HiVis vest is worn over the garments for added safety in the warehouse. 

The Results

The company incurred a higher upfront cost as they began providing the gear for their employees. But due to the durability of our gear and the reduced turnover, the company is already seeing long-term savings.

Employee morale saw a spike after the proper gear was provided. Warmer, more productive, and not paying out-of-pocket meant employees weren’t leaving at the same rate. Employee turnover went from 62% to 34% after this facility started providing insulated PPE.

With productivity up and employee turnover down, even with the higher PPE costs the company is seeing an improvement to their bottom line and will continue to do so.