1. Be aware of the problem
Counterfeit PPE is on the increase, with well-established product brands and designs being targeted. Often, these products don’t perform as they should, compromising safety for individuals and exposing businesses to risk. The BSIF runs the Registered Safety Supplier Scheme, to signpost users to reliable suppliers of PPE.
2. Choose suppliers carefully
Companies displaying the Registered Safety Supplier Scheme shield have signed up to a binding declaration that the equipment they offer conforms to the PPE Directive (89/686/EEC) by carrying CE marks and certification. This declaration is also independently audited. The scheme is proving successful and is now often specified in tendering processes. A full list of registered companies is available at www.bsif.co.uk
3. Check accreditation
Look for a CE mark, which should be 5mm or greater (as laid down in the PPE Directive). High-risk products, including respirators and chemical protective clothing, should also have a four-digit number, eg, CE 0120.
4. Ensure the product has written instructions
The PPE Directive requires that these should be precise, comprehensible, and in the official language of the member state in which the product is sold, ie, English. Also check that the manufacturer’s name and address is included in the user instructions.
5. Contact the supplier if unsure
If you are doubtful about any of the issues above, contact the PPE supplier, which should be able to supply an EC Declaration of Conformity or the EC-type Examination Certificate for the product in question. If you are still unsure, contact BSIF.
By David Lummis, chief executive of the British Safety Industry Federation. www.bsif.co.uk