As the NHS struggles to source sufficient PPE for frontline medical and care staff across the country, the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) has issued a warning to anyone purchasing PPE in the present climate and using alternative suppliers to fulfil their needs.
Despite the best efforts of the trading standards authorities and the BSIF, there are still illegal items of PPE entering the UK marketplace. Counterfeit PPE and also counterfeit supporting documentation have been found to be on the increase, with well-known brands and standards testing organisations being targeted. In addition to this, there are products being offered that make claims of compliance to BS, EN & ISO standards and offer dubious proof that this is the case.
Often these products do not perform as they should, endangering lives and exposing organisations to the risk of prosecution. In addition to the work the BSIF have done through their Registered Safety Supplier Scheme –helping to signpost PPE users to reliable suppliers who are independently audited by the BSIF –they have established links with Government to highlight fake and incorrect supporting documentation and where possible have these removed from sale.
The BSIF has produced a guide which offers advice on how to check if the supporting documentation for your PPE is genuine and what to do if you are concerned. For example, it explains that all PPE must be:
- supplied with instructions for use
- be appropriately tested and marked with a CE marking,
- it must also be supplied with a Declaration of Conformity or a link to a website where a Declaration of Conformity can be downloaded.
Without these, the product is illegal to use as protective equipment within the workplace. This doesn’t just apply to the healthcare, construction or manufacturing sectors as during the current Coronavirus pandemic, many organisations who do not regularly use PPE are purchasing gloves, face shields and face masks / respirators for worried staff to use, with this in mind we have chosen to make both clients and non-clients aware of the BSIF guide.
Download it here. BSIF PPE CE Certificate Checklist.