New research finds 85% of non-member safety equipment fails to meet regulatory criteria
THE British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) is urging businesses to only use a BSIF Registered Safety Supplier when procuring personal protective equipment (PPE) and other safety equipment after new findings revealed 85% of products from non-members failed to meet regulatory criteria.
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 last year, 86% passed immediately and all issues have now been resolved for the 14% that initially did not meet the test criteria. In contrast, only 15% of the 127 non-member products tested by the BSIF were fully compliant with standards and performed as advertised. This means 85% of these products failed to meet the regulatory criteria, many of which are still on the market.
Commenting on how employers can protect themselves from non-compliant PPE, safety footwear specialist Simon Ash, from BSIF Registered Safety Supplier HAIX, said: ‘Without doubt, the most important factors in choosing PPE have to be quality and compliance. So, the first questions that employers should ask are – what are the risks the workforce are facing at work, does the PPE fully comply with the standards to meet those risks and is it going to keep employees safe?
‘The Registered Safety Supplier Scheme is designed to help rid the market of non-compliant PPE, giving health and safety managers, PPE buyers and employers generally, the reassurance that they are sourcing from a reputable supplier and have confidence that their workforce is properly protected.
‘Beyond buying from a trusted source, employers can ask for an overview of the supplier’s quality assurance process and how they test their samples to ensure safety compliance. For example, our safety boots and shoes undergo more than 100 material and quality assurance tests, replicating the day-to-day wear challenges of our customers, who spend most of their time on their feet.
‘It’s also vital to check for CE marking. The CE mark provides a measure of confidence that the supplier’s products have been assessed against recognized standards or other appropriate specifications by an independent third party, which has also been assessed for competence.
‘At HAIX, we are committed to educating individuals on the importance of quality PPE and the latest findings from BSIF demonstrate the criticalness of choosing a reputable supplier to ensure we improve the future of the UK safety market and keep more workers safe.’