2021 marks the 85th anniversary for Saf-T-Gard International, Inc., a family owned and operated global supplier of industrial safety products now in its 4th generation of ownership. The first "P" in "PPE" stands for "Personal", and never before has safety been more personal than it is nowadays with the outbreak of COVID-19 affecting the lives and livelihoods of everyone. No one understands this better than Saf-T-Gard International, Inc. Since its establishment in 1936, Saf-T-Gard has enabled on-the-job safety, compliance and peace of mind for hundreds of thousands of workers and their families by delivering superior safety products and solutions that protect against work-related hazards and prevent serious injuries.
Saf-T-Gard has grown significantly since its humble, two-person factory loft beginnings. Founded as Latex Glove Manufacturing Company by Leo and Lillian Rivkin, the company began its operations in Chicago when the Rivkins acquired equipment from a balloon company and used it to produce waterproof, rubber-coated cotton gloves. They purchased cotton gloves, dipped them in the latex rubber tanks, let them dry overnight, and sold them the next day. In the 1940s, as Chicago manufacturers geared up to support the American war efforts, Latex Glove Company expanded its product offering as a full-line industrial glove distributor.
The focus on occupational safety and health in the 1960s and 1970s lead to an increased emphasis on providing a full line of personal protective equipment. As such, Latex Glove Company began supplementing its legacy of hand protection with industrial safety products from global suppliers, including protective eyewear, respirators, hard hats, protective clothing and footwear, and first aid kits and supplies to meet OSHA’s requirements. In 1979, Latex Glove Company purchased a larger industrial building in Northbrook, Illinois, to position the company for further growth and better customer service.
In the early 1980s, the Voltgard project was launched as a small test lab with the mission to develop the electrical testing and utility industry business by providing the testing of rubber insulating products to complement the sales of new products. Saf-T-Gard’s Voltgard Test Lab has grown to be the largest, independent, NAIL4PET accredited test lab for rubber insulating products in the United States and offers complete retesting and certification of rubber gloves, sleeves, blankets, line hose, covers, dielectric footwear, jumper cables, grounding sets, plastic guards, hot sticks, matting, hoods and hand tools – all to applicable standards. Moreover, the Voltgard Test Lab developed the Original Rubber Goods Change-Out Program – the industry’s first managed rubber goods change-out program designed to minimize out-of-service time and save money by offering customers complete solutions from start to finish. No other test lab offers the Voltgard level of service. Having experienced significant business growth, Saf-T-Gard moved to its current location on Huehl Road in 1986. The new building was nearly double in size with plenty of room for even greater expansion.
By 1989, the company's direction as a full-line, quality-oriented supplier of safety products was clear, and therefore, Latex Glove Company changed its name to Saf-T-Gard International, Inc. to reflect its dedication to a complete line of worker safety products and personal protective equipment. Today, Saf-T-Gard offers tens of thousands of products spanning the full range of personal protective equipment and facility safety from the world’s leading manufacturers in addition to Saf T Gard’s exclusive brands. Saf-T-Gard serves customers in all 50 states and in more than 50 countries around the world. The company has received numerous awards, including Illinois Family Business of the Year, United States Department of Commerce President’s “E” Award for Export Excellence, AD Safety Network Gold Star Distributor Award, and AD Safety Network Peak Performance Distributor Award. Saf-T-Gard is an active member of the National Safety Council (NSC), the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA), the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) Worker Safety Committee, the North American Independent Laboratories for Protective Equipment Testing (NAIL4PET), the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), and AD Safety Network.
“Saf-T-Gard is 85 years strong, and our solid history is a testament to our dedication, commitment and stability as a company,” said Richard Rivkin, Chairman and CEO, Saf-T-Gard International, Inc. Loren Rivkin, President and COO continues, “My great-grandparents started our company just after the Great Depression. World War II ensued and my grandfather went off to war, returning home with a Purple Heart and Silver Star, and then rejoined his parents’ company. Now we finish our 85th year, hopefully seeing the end of a two-year global pandemic, and Saf-T-Gard is still here and strong, bringing workers home safely.”
To learn more, please visit www.saftgard.com or call 1-800-548-GARD (4273).