Watch out for non-compliant PPE and safety equipment, warns safety body

The British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) is warning those in charge of PPE and safety product procurement to be vigilant about substandard products, as their latest non-member product tests highlight the availability of high levels of non-compliant 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.

Just a few examples of substandard products the BSIF came across for sale in 2022 include:

  • An ‘indestructible safety trainer’ that failed the midsole penetration test
  • ‘Cut-resistant gloves’ that didn’t pass the relevant cut test
  • A ‘safety harness & lanyard’ provided without any user instructions or documentation

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.

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.

BSIF CEO, Alan Murray comments: “Our latest findings are very concerning and reinforce the importance of only using a BSIF Registered Safety Supplier when procuring PPE and safety equipment.

“The reality is that selling PPE and safety equipment comes with complex responsibilities and it can be hard for even the most diligent suppliers to keep up with the rules and regulations. That’s why at the BSIF we maintain that even though anyone can sell safety, you shouldn’t buy safety from just anyone.

“We urge all buyers and specifiers to review their current processes and consider what assurances they have that the PPE and safety equipment they are being supplied with is fit for purpose.

“Specifying a Registered Safety Supplier is the easiest way to ensure you are only dealing with compliant, competent and trustworthy suppliers.”

For a full list of Registered Safety Suppliers, visit: https://www.registeredsafetysupplierscheme.co.uk

PCIAW Uniform Networks Buyer, Trusted member