Kappler and Lakeland, two Alabama-based protective clothing companies that compete in the U.S., have joined forces to expand chemical worker protection in India.
Privately-held Kappler is based in Guntersville, and Lakeland is publicly traded with headquarters in Decatur.
The two companies specialize in different sectors of the protective apparel business, with Lakeland focusing on coveralls and other apparel for non-life-threatening hazards. Kappler is a major innovator and leader in total-encapsulating hazmat suits for fire departments and other emergency response units.
The unique channel partner strategy will leverage Lakeland’s position as an established supplier in India.
“Lakeland’s commitment to India, with our own manufacturing facilities there, allows us to serve the market with our core products very efficiently. This partnership means Indian chemical workers now have access to the Kappler brand and their innovative hazmat products such as Zytron®, Frontlne® and DuraChem®,” said Charlie Robison, CEO.
By combining Kappler’s NFPA-certified hazmat suits with Lakeland’s offering, a broader workforce can be served in what is the world’s sixth largest chemical production market. India has thousands of workers involved in the handling of deadly chemicals who need the higher level protection of the Kappler garments.
For Kappler the move also means an opportunity to leverage its heritage in safety training for chemical workers. While India does not require any specific certifications for protective clothing, the European-based CE mark is often used as a benchmark. Kappler certifies its hazmat garments to the U.S.-based NFPA protective standards, which are much more stringent.
“Protecting workers is always the highest priority at Kappler, and we are excited about educating Indian hazmat responders on the significant differences between the CE mark and NFPA certification,” said Kappler President and CEO Laura Kappler-Roberts. “Hazmat response can literally be a life-or-death situation, and we are glad to offer our technology and NFPA expertise to India.”