Seton Welcomes New Regulations to Tackle Fake PPE
A recent Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) survey* confirmed that ensuring PPE is in good, serviceable condition is a top priority in health and safety organisations. The survey also identified key PPE problems, including substandard PPE equipment being used by some contractors. Due to the potentially fatal consequences of inferior products, the quality of PPE is high on the agenda. As a result, Seton fully supports plans for revisions to the current European PPE Directive to tackle the growing problem of “fake” PPE.
Seton conducted a study to gain a deeper understanding of PPE from a customer perspective. Ensuring PPE is in good, serviceable condition was ranked the second most important factor in PPE management due to the impact on employee safety. In addition, a key PPE problem identified by 39% of respondents is that contractors are not necessarily aiming for the same safety standards as the organisation. If contractors provide their own PPE and this is substandard, the consequences could be extremely serious for both the contractor and the employer. It is clear that using high quality CE approved PPE in the correct manner is a matter of life and death.
Despite this, The British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF)** report that fake and illegal products being manufactured and sold within the PPE industry is an increasingly common problem. Many products manufactured using substandard materials have entered the market place, from gloves to high visibility vests.
The problem of fake PPE was recently highlighted on the BBC1 programme, Fake Britain. The programme featured builder’s merchants Jewson who were prosecuted for selling substandard, non-compliant fraudulently marked PPE after trading standards officers found safety helmets at its Northampton store which failed impact tests. Northampton Magistrates Court fined Jewson £14,000 in October 2013.
Alan Murray, Chief Executive Officer of the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF), said, “It is extremely disappointing that such a strong brand and household name would be providing product that wasn’t up to performance requirements of the safety industry.”
Commenting on the issue of fake PPE, the BSIF said it is committed to ensuring that PPE on sale in the UK meets relevant European safety standards and provides the level of protection that it claims.
To tackle this growing problem, the BSIF has created the Registered Safety Supplier scheme. Companies displaying the scheme logo have signed a binding declaration that the safety equipment they offer meets the appropriate standards, fully complies with the PPE regulations, and is appropriately CE marked. In addition, revisions to the current European PPE Directive (89/686/EC) have been proposed. The new legislation would make retailers and distributors responsible for ensuring products they sell meet the required safety standards, rather than the responsibility falling solely on the manufacturer. It is hoped that these measures will help tackle the issue of inferior quality, counterfeit PPE in UK workplaces and protect the lives of employees.
*PPE Survey (2013) conducted by Seton UK with 106 respondents were from Construction, Education, Manufacturing and Facilities Management sectors.