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FEATURE


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Compliant


Government Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) that has the responsibility to ensure products are appropriately CE marked.


David explains: “At any one time, the BSIF can be helping to investigate a number of incidents regarding illegal, non-conforming safety equipment that we have been made aware of either through our members or the public.”


David continues: “Many of these counterfeit products arrive in containers from the Far East and can be readily purchased via online auction sites or from high street markets. It is quite easy to buy containers of ‘safety’ equipment direct and of course without the correct quality control procedures in place, the buyer will not have a clue what they are purchasing, thereby endangering lives. Understandably companies are looking to save money in the current economic climate and may feel that cost savings can be made when purchasing safety clothing and equipment; the reality is that this cost saving is putting people’s lives at risk.”


He adds: “It is not really www.tomorrowshs.com


Non-compliant


surprising that purchasers of PPE are now more wary about procuring items as there is general confusion over certified products, mainly due to counterfeit items, falsified certifications and the potentially confusing CE symbol that stands for ‘China Export’. Nevertheless, there are measures at hand to ensure employers are buying and supplying the correct equipment.”


There are a number of practical measures that buyers can take to avoid being sold sub-standard products. The first and most important being, buy from a reputable source. To help ensure compliant safety equipment is supplied to end users the BSIF set up its Registered Safety Supplier Scheme that helps signpost purchasers of safety equipment to experienced and ethical companies who will work tirelessly to provide safety equipment that ‘does what it says on the tin’.


The BSIF introduced the Registered Safety Supplier Scheme in 2009. The scheme allows its members to identify themselves as having made a formal declaration that they are selling only products that are genuine and legal. This


declaration is, as a condition of the scheme, audited through special provisions set out within the company’s ISO9001 Certification. Under the Registered Safety Supplier Scheme this independent audit is one of the key requirements to


independently verify conformance; it is the BSIF’s belief that the independent audit is a key part of the robustness of the scheme. The BSIF actively promotes this scheme to its members and encourages end users to look for the Registered Safety Supplier Scheme shield to guarantee compliance, performance and quality.


Secondly take note of the price of the PPE, if it appears that the cost of the item is extraordinarily cheap then there could be good reason – shoddy workmanship, poor materials, too name but a few. Another area to take into consideration is the look and feel of the product, in many instances just by carrying out a thorough inspection of the item you might be able to detect noticeable defects.


Additionally, checking the labelling on the product can help verify the product as being genuine and legal - Is the marking present on the product labelling and displayed in the correct font and at least 5mm high? Again documentation is also necessary - have written instructions been provided in clear and legible text? It is a requirement of the PPE Directive that the


instructions for use are precise, comprehensible and provided at least in the official language(s) of the Member State of destination (i.e. the country in which the product is sold). Also, is the name and address of the manufacturer detailed on the user instructions?


If you are still unsure, the supplier of the product should be able to provide you with an EC Declaration of Conformity or EC-Type Examination Certificate for the specific product in question. However if you are still uncertain about the products legal status or performance capability, then why not give the BSIF a call on 01745 585600 and the team will do their best to help.


David concludes: “Being extra vigilent when looking after your workforce is essential when health and lives are at risk. By just being aware of the type of counterfeit items available on the marketplace and remembering that offers that seem ‘too good to be true’ usually are, is a step in the right direction. Purchasing the right PPE is a big responsibility and safety equipment that doesn’t perform properly isn’t just inconvenient, it may actually cost lives. We urge you to continue to remain vigilant on such matters and together we can help contribute to stamping out this unscrupulous behaviour.”


www.bsif.co.uk


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