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According to the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) a lot of personal protective equipment (PPE) on the market is inefficient, and does not offer the advertised protection. The federation has issued a warning to buyers of PPE and safety equipment to stay vigilant about possibly substandard products. The BSIF also operates a register featuring suppliers whose products are tested and compliant with current standards. These products are tested yearly, and if they fail to meet the strict criteria, must be addressed and put right If this is not carried out immediately, members cannot remain part of the scheme. The performance of these products is extremely important, particularly for those in the construction sector.
In 2022, 387 tests were carried out on these products, and 332 products (86%) passed, while the 55 (14%) that did not meet the standards soon had their issues resolved. The BSIF also tested 126 non-member products and only 18 (15%) were fully compliant and performed as advertised. So 108 products (85%) failed to meet the regulatory criteria, many of which are still on the market. Some of the failed products in 2022 included:
• An ‘indestructible safety trainer’ that failed the midsole penetration test.
• ‘Cut-resistant gloves’ that failed the cut test
• A ‘safety harness & lanyard’ provided with no user instructions or documentation.
Chief executive of BSIF Alan Murray said: “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.”
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