At the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) we are urging buyers and end users of PPE and safety equipment to follow a simple process when specifying products to ensure that they are fit for purpose.
Under PPE Regulations, employers providing PPE and safety equipment have a responsibility to ensure that the products they buy are compliant, but many buyers don't have the knowledge and resources to validate suppliers’ claims.
It is easy to assume that if products look like PPE and safety equipment and are marketed as such, they will provide the protection that’s needed. However, mounting evidence shows that this is not always the case, and the use of ineffective products that put people at risk of injury, or worse, is on the rise.
Indeed, the BSIF’s latest non-member product tests highlight the availability of high levels of non-compliant and potentially dangerous products.
Between December 2021 and December 2022, the BSIF completed tests on 127 non-member products which included checking their compliance with relevant standards and testing whether they perform as advertised. Only 18 (15%) of these products were fully compliant. This means 108 products (85%) failed to meet the regulatory criteria, many of which are still available and being sold to unsuspecting users.
The findings around non-member products are in contrast with the results of tests carried out on products supplied by BSIF Registered Safety Suppliers who are committed to only selling certified PPE and trading honestly and ethically and can offer specialist PPE procurement support.
Registered Safety Supplier’s products are tested annually as part of the scheme’s audit process and if products fail to meet the test’s strict criteria any issues must be addressed and rectified immediately for members to remain part of the scheme. Of 387 tests completed on Registered Safety Supplier’s products between December 2021 and December 2022, 332 products (86%) passed immediately and of the 55 (14%) that initially didn’t meet the test criteria, all issues have now been resolved.
Buyers and end users can be assured that companies displaying the BSIF shield have signed a binding declaration that the PPE and safety equipment they offer meets the correct standards, fully complies with the regulations and is UKCA and or CE marked. This means that by using a Registered Safety Supplier you can be confident you will receive genuine products that are fit for purpose as well as genuine information and guidance.
Therefore, if you are a business or organisation in the UK that is buying PPE and safety equipment, the BSiF urges you to:
- CHECK your supplier is BSIF Registered. BSIF audited suppliers are compliant, competent and trustworthy.
- SELECT appropriate, certified and approved products. Registered Safety Suppliers can support the product selection process through their competence, capability and knowledge.
- PROTECT your people, your most precious asset, and help your business to thrive.
BSiF CEO Alan Murray comments: “However you are sourcing your PPE and safety equipment, checking whether your vendor is a Registered Safety Supplier is a quick and easy way of ensuring they are committed to high standards of operation and are compliant with relevant regulations.
“Remember, anyone can sell safety, but you wouldn’t buy safety from just anyone. Always specify the shield.”
To find out more about the benefits of specifying a BSIF registered supplier in your supply chain, watch the BSIF’s video The BSIF Registered Safety Supplier Scheme: What you need to know when buying PPE & Safety Equipment. Or contact the BSIF today at [email protected] or by calling (0)1442 248744.
You will also be able to access free support and resources designed to improve your PPE procurement processes and to help safeguard your workforce, your business and your reputation.
For a full list of Registered Safety Suppliers, visit: www.registeredsafetysupplierscheme.co.uk