With an increasing volume of substandard products on the market, the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) has issued a handy checklist to help specifiers and users check whether personal protective equipment (PPE) is fit for purpose.
BSIF analysis carried out last year showed that much of the PPE on the market fails to match up to the advertised protection.
It completed tests on 127 non-member products, which included checking their compliance with relevant standards and testing whether they perform as claimed. 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 for sale to unsuspecting users.
The findings around non-member products contrast with the results of tests on products supplied by BSIF Registered Safety Suppliers, whose products are tested annually as part of the scheme’s audit process. Of 387 tests completed on Registered Safety Suppliers’ products, 332 (86%) passed immediately, and of the 55 (14%) that initially did not meet the test criteria, all issues were subsequently resolved.
The new BSIF PPE checklist has been created to help specifiers and users ensure that PPE complies with the law and conforms to PPE Regulation 2016/425. It presents a series of questions to ask when purchasing PPE, which are divided into sections for ease of use: Product Markings, Required Documentation, Product Condition, and Storage.
Examples of questions included in the checklist are:
• Does the PPE have a UKCA, UKNI or CE Mark applied to it?
• Was the PPE issued with User Instructions included?
• Is there a Declaration of Conformity with the PPE
• Is the PPE clean, undamaged and suitable for use?
• Was the PPE stored correctly, according to the User Instructions?
If any questions present cause for concern, users are advised to seek support and guidance from their company’s health & safety advisor and the manufacturer of the PPE. The BSIF can also provide general guidance.
BSIF CEO Alan Murray says: “This checklist is a reminder that while anyone can sell safety, you shouldn’t buy safety from just anyone. Failing to check your PPE is fit for purpose could leave you or your employees, for whom you have a duty of care, vulnerable and unprotected, and also expose your organisation to the risk of prosecution. The easiest way to check your PPE is compliant is by only buying from a Registered Safety Supplier.”
The checklist can be downloaded for free at: Check-your-PPE.pdf (bsif.co.uk)
The BSIF also offers an‘Is it Genuine – Certification Checklist’ that providesfurther advice on how to check if the supporting documentation for your PPE is genuine and what to do if you are concerned. It can be downloaded athttps://www.bsif.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Is-it-Genuine-2023.pdf
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