Fake PPE can not only endanger life but also put your busness at risk
A recent report by the British Safety Industry Federation
has uncovered a growing trend in counterfeit personal protective equipment (PPE Equipment) being shipped to and distributed within the UK, potentially putting many lives at risk.
During last year there were 30 deaths within the UK construction industry alone, as well as 2,585 serious injuries and 5,651 minor injuries. It is the concern of the BSIF that a number of these injuries and fatalities could potentially have been prevented or reduced in severity had the PPE equipment been of a suitable standard.
David Lummis, Chief Executive Officer of the BSIF commented: “Many of these counterfeit products arrive in containers from the Far East and can be readily purchased via online auction sites or from street markets. It is quite easy to buy containers of ‘safety’ equipment direct and of course without the correct quality control procedures in place, the buyer will not have a clue what they are purchasing, thereby endangering lives.”
Lummis continued: “It is not really surprising that purchasers of PPE are now more wary about procuring items as there is general confusion over certified products, mainly due to the counterfeit items, falsified certifications and the potentially confusing CE symbol that stands for ‘China Export’. Nevertheless, there are measures at hand to ensure employers are buying and supplying the correct equipment.”
The BSIF introduced the Registered Safety Supplier Scheme in 2009 that allows members to identify themselves as having made a formal declaration that they are selling only products which are genuine and legal. This declaration is, as a condition of the scheme, audited through special provisions set out within the company’s ISO9001 Certification. Under the Registered Safety Supplier Scheme this independent audit is one of the key requirements to independently verify conformance; it is the BSIF’s belief that the independent audit is a key part of the robustness of the scheme.
Many of the counterfeit personal protective equipment and clothing products being shipped to the UK from the Far East even include a CE mark
, although this is not approved, and does not represent a product which has passed the stringent safety and quality checks required.
“The CE mark is a recognised and approved symbol of quality throughout Europe, but in a growing number of cases we are seeing cheap, poor quality safety products arriving in the UK with the letters 'CE' printed on them, standing for China Export,” said a spokesperson for Intersafety
a UK supplier of PPE. "This is a deliberate ploy to confuse British businesses, and we believe is putting people's lives and safety at risk unnecessarily."
While companies looking to save money in the current economic climate may feel that purchasing safety clothing and equipment very cheaply from web-based auction sites or high street markets, say Intersafety, the reality is that this cost saving is putting people's lives at risk.