Seventy years ago, PK Safety was founded by Eric L. Pedley and ship captain, Josiah Knowles, in San Francisco, CA under the name Pedley-Knowles and Company. What started as one of a dozen Bay Area ship chandlery businesses expanded to include safety nets and eventually shifted to safety equipment and services.
Eric was known to be a tinkerer, which led to one of his biggest inventions: extremely durable safety nets. In the mid 1950's Eric and his nephew, Phillip Pedley, formed Pedley Nets, a manufacturing and sales alliance in Glen Ellen, California. Through a patented manufacturing process on these practically indestructible nets, they were able to gain preeminence in the safety netting field.
Eric L. Pedley was a member of the Half Way To Hell Club, an exclusive club organized by the men who fell from the Golden Gate Bridge during its construction in 1936 and 1937 and were saved by the safety nets.
They leased these safety nets to be used on high rise buildings, bridge construction and maintenance, and special nets for children to use at theme parks and playgrounds. Today these nets can still be found underneath the Golden Gate Bridge and in many amusement parks across the country.
The chandlery business continued with the addition of Eric A. Pedley (Eric L. Pedley's son) and Mel Freeman in 1960. Eric A. Pedley came from Bethlehem Shipbuilding with expertise in mechanics of ships; Mel came from Tidewater Oil Company with expertise in and connections with the Philippine shipping industry, which gave the Company access to a new market.
By the early 1970's the Company shifted its focus to safety equipment since the shipping chandlery businesses were all in decline and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had just formed in 1972. Eric S. Pedley (Rick), PK Safety’s current President and CEO, joined the family business in 1979. In 1982, his grandfather Eric L. Pedley retired and the relationship with Pedley Nets came to an end.
The Company relocated to Illinois Street in San Francisco. In 1996 Rick took over the Company, shortening its name to PK Safety, and moved it two more times: from San Francisco to Oakland, CA in 1996, then to Alameda, CA in 2001. The following year he launched the Company's first online store, expanding its customer reach both nationally and internationally. Year over year, PK Safety continued to grow and eventually got certified in 2014 to start servicing products like gas monitors.
In 2015, the Company stopped housing product in its own warehouse and shifted to using a third-party logistics (3PL) system with warehouses located in Fresno, CA, St. Louis, MO, and Carlisle, PA. This has helped the PK Safety scale with faster fulfillment and delivery along with shipping orders directly from manufacturers.
Today, PK Safety is one of the most trusted names in the safety equipment industry. In 2019, the company launched its own line of UL Classified flame retardant (FR) clothing line known as GRIT. Designed for hardworking professionals, the GRIT line exceeds the industry’s safety requirements, protecting individuals from harsh working conditions. Responding to the needs of current customers, the GRIT line offers high quality FR gear at a great value. Although durable, this clothing line was designed also to be breathable and comfortable enough to wear even off the jobsite. Manufactured in the Americas, GRIT products are all backed by an industry leading 2-year quality guarantee.
Although PK Safety has evolved over the years, one thing that still rings true is our commitment to outstanding customer service and industry knowledge—you get a real live safety expert to speak with, who will pick up the phone faster than 911. Our extremely knowledgeable safety experts receive regular training directly from manufacturers of the products we carry. We serve multiple industries—from construction and confined space to renewable energy and oil and gas.
We are so grateful for our customers' support these past 70 years and look forward to serving them for many years to come.