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PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT


PREVENTING THE SPREAD using certified PPE


Sean Keller, managing director at ASAP Innovations, outlines the importance of ensuring certified PPE is used to help protect against Covid-19 variants


N


ow that the UK has announced its step-by-step roadmap to carefully ease lockdown restrictions, more of


us will be feeling positive about leaving the last 12 months behind us for good. However, it is important to remember that


we are not out of the woods just yet. While the UK vaccine rollout is well underway, many countries around the world are lagging behind and there are also concerns some strains of Covid may be resistant to the vaccines. A recent study found that the AstraZeneca vaccine was not effective against mild and moderate symptoms of the more contagious South African variant,


Ongoing importance of PPE With this in mind, PPE is still going to play a major part in controlling the spread of the virus and its rising number of strains in order to prevent the very real possibility of a third wave. It is therefore as important now, as it was at the beginning of the pandemic, for employers to ensure they are providing frontline workers with certified PPE and are able to easily identify fake products.


Identifying fake PPE Since the start of the pandemic, criminals have been capitalising on the demand for PPE, with a recent report finding that there were potentially 1.2 million units of fake masks supplied to the NHS1


. The different


strains of Covid are still relatively unknown, but it is believed that the Brazilian variant is over twice as transmissible as the initial Wuhan strain2


. So, it is as important as ever before that


certified PPE is supplied in the workplace and unauthentic products are easily identified. There are five key ways of identifying certified PPE: • Notified bodies –These organisations


are assigned by an EU country to assess the authenticity of a product before it’s placed on the market. All notified bodies


52 APRIL 2021 | PROCESS & CONTROL


designated to assess PPE are listed on the EU Commission’s regularly updated NANDO (New Approach Notified and Designated Organisations) website. • CE Markings – They


wearing PPE, but high quality, certified PPE, does not dwindle as we begin to return to some form of normality’’


the attitude to towards not just


crucial that ‘‘It is


indicate a product has been tested by the manufacturer and recognised to meet EU safety, health and environmental protection requirements. CE markings are a requirement for products placed on the EU market that are manufactured anywhere in the world and they will continue to be recognised in the UK until 30 June 2023. • Technical file –


Provides information on the design, manufacture, and operation of a product and must


demonstrate the product conforms to the applicable


requirements. The documentation is


necessary to prove the product meets the essential requirements to justify and support an EU declaration of conformity. • EU declaration of conformity – A


mandatory document that a manufacturer or the authorised representative need to sign to declare the products comply with the EU requirements. The document must include: manufacturer, the address, implementation standard, ingredient content, production batch number, production date and expiration date, to name a few. • EN standards – Medical products on the


EU market should comply with EN standards. For example, masks should comply with EN 14683 and EN 149 standards and gloves should comply with EN 455 and EN 374 standards. Inauthentic PPE will have the wrong standard in relation to the given masks or gloves.


Sean Keller, managing director, ASAP Innovations


Preventing the dreaded ‘third wave’ The emergence of the new Covid-19 variants have caused much confusion and fear among the public and those working on the frontline, yet the rollout of the vaccine and the declining case numbers is likely to result in a false sense of security. The supply of certified PPE across the frontline must continue to be recognised as an integral part of protecting the UK from the virus and its variants.


Return to normality Following the roadmap, adhering to the laws and effective governance also contribute to the return to normal life, but it is crucial that the attitude towards not just wearing PPE, but high quality, certified PPE, does not dwindle as we begin to return to some form of normality. By addressing the threat of Covid variants


on the frontline through qualified PPE supply, the risk of a third wave is significantly reduced and above all, workers’ lives are properly protected against the variants.


https://www.itv.com/news/2021-02-23/covid- more-than-a-million-masks-issued-to-nhs-may-not -meet-safety-standards


1 2https://www.news-


medical.net/news/20210311/Brazil-COVID-variant -25-times-more-transmissible-than-ancestral- strain.aspx


ASAP Innovations whyasap.co.uk


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