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Alert raised over dodgy PPE


The British Safety Industry Federation is warning that a lot of personal protective equipment (PPE) on the market does not offer the advertised protection.


It has issued a warning to buyers of PPE and safety equipment to be vigilant about substandard products.


The British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) operates a register of suppliers where all members have their products tested to ensure they are up to the relevant standards.


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, 332 products (86%) passed immediately and with the 55 (14%) that initially did not meet the test criteria, all issues have now been resolved.


By contrast, the 127 non-member products tested by the BSIF only 18 (15%) were fully compliant with standards and performed as advertised. This means 108 products (85%) failed to meet the regulatory criteria, many of which are still on the market.


Examples of substandard products the BSIF came across for sale in 2022 include:

  • An “indestructible safety trainer” that failed the midsole penetration test.

  • “Cut-resistant gloves” that failed the relevant cut test.

  • A “safety harness and lanyard” provided without any user instructions or documentation.

BSIF chief executive 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.”


British Safety Industry Federation February 2023



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