Suzanne Callander reports on moves to tackle the growing problem of fake PPE entering the UK market

The British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) believes that the problem of fake and illegal PPE products being manufactured and sold within the PPE industry is an increasingly common problem and that many products made using substandard materials have entered the UK marketplace.

To tackle the problem, the BSIF created the Registered Safety Supplier scheme. Companies displaying the scheme logo have been required to sign a binding declaration that the safety equipment they offer meets the appropriate standards, fully complies with the PPE regulations, and is appropriately CE marked. 

In addition, revisions to the current European PPE Directive are underway. Although the Directive revisions were originally intended to simplify the law, it is hoped that they will also result in retailers and distributors taking on greater responsibility for ensuring that products they sell meet the required safety standards. Today, this responsibility falls solely on manufacturers.

Directive revisions

The final stages of agreeing the text for the revision of the PPE Directive, which originally came into force in 1989, are well underway. “The PPE Regulation is the subject of three-way negotiations in Europe between the Parliament, Council and Commission, and it is just possible that they will complete their work in time for it to be published in the Official Journal of the European Union in September, a few months ahead of the expected timetable,” explained Frank Angear, general manager of the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF).

Shortly after publication it will become part of UK safety legislation. “There will be a two year transition period before the Regulation is operational. This will allow all interested parties time to familiarise themselves with its requirements and prepare for any changes that are necessary. There will then be a further year during which both the Directive and the Regulation can be used, and only after this third year will the current Directive be repealed,” continued Angear.

So, it looks like it will be possible to choose to work to the new Regulation from late in 2017, and it will be fully applicable, with the current Directive gone, by the latter part of 2018.