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Fakes Flood PPE Market, UK Warns

Friday, April 8, 2011

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The British Safety Industry Federation is warning against an influx of fake, shoddy personal protective equipment from China that it says “could cost lives” in the construction industry.

 British Safety Industry Foundation

 Photos: British Safety Industry Foundation

Illegal personal protective equipment is made of substandard materials but can look like the real thing.

The issue involves products that appear to be certified under BSIF’s Registered Safety Supply Shield program. The program certifies suppliers of safety equipment that have met the agency’s strict codes and standards. Participants are independently audited through special provisions set out within the company’s ISO9001 Certification.

 Registered Safety Supply Shield
The Registered Safety Supply Shield program certifies safety equipment suppliers.

BSIF-approved PPE is marked “CE.”

Unfortunately, so are cheap, shoddy Chinese exports, which have been recently flooding the European market, BSIF says.

‘The Buyer Will Not Have a Clue’

The products include safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses made from substandard materials but finished in such a way that it is difficult, if not impossible, to identify them as fakes, BSIF says.

“The use of fake and illegal products could prove fatal,” BSIF said in a statement.

“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,” said BSIF CEO David Lummis.

“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.”

He added: “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.’”

Awareness Urged

BSIF urges consumers to look for the program’s shield on approved equipment and to contact the manufacturer if they have any questions about a product.

“By just being aware of the type of counterfeit items available on the marketplace and remembering that offers that seem ‘too good to be true’ usually are, is a step in the right direction,” the foundation said.

“Purchasing the right PPE is a big responsibility and safety equipment that doesn’t perform properly isn’t just inconvenient; it may actually cost lives.”

Construction accounts for more worker fatalities than any other industry in the UK and is among the most dangerous industries in the United States.


Tagged categories: Health and safety; Personal protective equipment

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