PPE Directive Update

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Plans for update to PPE Directive

Suppliers of personal protective equipment (PPE) have welcomed plans for revisions to the current European PPE Directive (89/686/EC) to tackle the “growing problem” of fake PPE in the UK.

The PPE Directive is implemented in the UK as the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 2002.

In terms of the legal framework, the European Commission intends to replace the Directive with a Regulation in order to simplify the law.

The new Regulation will extend the scope of the Directive, with the addition of PPE for private use for protection against moisture, water and heat (e.g. dish-washing and oven gloves). (These products were already covered by the Directive when they were used for commercial purposes.)

However, UK suppliers of PPE have argued that the new Regulation will also help to control what they say is a growing problem of counterfeit and inferior quality PPE in UK workplaces.

The new proposed legislation would make retailers and distributors responsible for ensuring products they sell meet the required safety standards, whereas at present it is only manufacturers that are responsible for checking products comply with performance standards.

Problem of fake PPE featured on BBC1

The problem of fake PPE was recently highlighted on the BBC1 programme, Fake Britain, a series revealing the extent of fake goods in the UK.

The programme featured builder’s merchants Jewson who were prosecuted for selling substandard, non -compliant fraudulently marked PPE after trading standards officers found safety helmets at its Northampton store which failed impact tests.

Northampton Magistrates Court fined Jewson £14,000 in October 2013.

Alan Murray, Chief Executive Officer of the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF), a health and safety trade body, appeared on the BBC1 programme Fake Britain in order to comment on the issue of fake PPE in the health and safety world.

In the programme, he described the purpose of hard hats and outlined how in the particular case workers had not been supplied with the appropriate protection.

Alan Murray said, “It is extremely disappointing that such a strong brand and household name would be providing product that wasn’t up to performance requirements of the safety industry.”

Commenting on the issue of fake PPE, the BSIF said it is committed to ensuring that PPE on sale in the UK meets relevant European safety standards and provides the level of protection that it claims.Safety helmet

To help combat the sale of substandard PPE, the BSIF has created the Registered Safety Supplier scheme.

Companies displaying the scheme’s logo have signed a binding declaration that the safety equipment they offer meets the appropriate standards, fully complies with the PPE regulations and is appropriately CE marked.

All Registered Safety Suppliers are independently audited to confirm compliance with the scheme’s requirements. A list of registered companies can be accessed at www.bsif.co.uk/news/display/home.

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