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TEAM Talks: Unveiling Hidden Dangers – The Urgent Call for Stringent PPE Standards

Unveiling Hidden Dangers: The Urgent Call for Stringent PPE Standards

Monday  19th February, 2024

Illustration by TEAM Safety Services Ltd.


A recent alert from the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) has sounded a resounding alarm, exposing a widespread failure of non-member personal protective equipment (PPE) during rigorous safety testing. The implications of these findings are nothing short of alarming, as compromised safety gear remains accessible in the market, posing serious risks to unsuspecting users. In this blog, we delve into the concerning details revealed by the BSIF, shedding light on the critical need for enhanced scrutiny in PPE procurement processes.

 

The Alarming Findings

 

Between December 2022 and December 2023, the BSIF conducted tests on 123 non-member products, evaluating their compliance with standards and adherence to advertised performance. Shockingly, only 21% (26 products) proved to be fully compliant, leaving a staggering 79% (97 products) that failed to meet regulatory criteria. These substandard products, still available in the market, pose significant risks to unsuspecting users.


Illustration by TEAM Safety Services Ltd.


Safety Deficiencies Unveiled

 

The failed products showcased a spectrum of critical safety deficiencies, each with the potential to compromise the well-being of users. Here are some examples of PPE products that were tested. 

 

One product which was purchased from an online retailer was a Flame Retardant Parka. During rigorous flame spread testing, the outer protective layer burnt through, exposing the inner layer, which then caught fire. This resulted in the coat being completely consumed by flames. The Parka also lacked correct documentation and markings in line with PPE Regulation requirements. 

 

A pair of safety boots were also purchased and tested from the same retailer. The safety boots failed toe cap compression tests and were over 10 years old. They were supplied with outdated certifications and were not correctly marked or documented, leaving wearers vulnerable to foot injuries. 

 

A pair of safety spectacles were acquired from a high street retailer, which failed an impact resistance test. The lenses cracked and broke when struck by a projectile. The spectacles also lacked markings and the required documentation. Despite the high street retailer’s promises to remove the product from sale, it was still available for over two months after.

 

Protective gloves from a high street retailer were also tested against abrasion and failed, as well as a Respiratory Protective Mask (FFP3) purchased from a PPE distributor, which only performed at half of the required level during filter penetration tests against contaminants. 

 

These deficiencies have the potential to lead to accidents causing life-long consequences. 



Grave Concerns


The non-member PPE product test result findings are in severe contrast to the results from testing products supplied by BSIF Registered Safety Suppliers. Of the 348 tests BSIF completed on products from Registered Safety Suppliers between December 2022 and December 2023, 91% (315 products) passed instantly. Of the 9% (33 products) which initially fell short, issues found in the tests were promptly addressed and rectified.

 

Alan Murray, BSIF CEO, has warned that unsuspecting users often place their trust in compromised products, putting their safety at risk. Alan Murray calls for the critical need for buyers and specifiers to thoroughly review their procurement processes and implement stringent measures to ensure they receive PPE that is demonstrably fit for purpose.

 

“Checking for the BSIF Registered Safety Supplier shield is the easiest way to ensure you only deal with compliant, competent, and trustworthy suppliers. Remember, anyone can sell safety, but you shouldn’t buy safety from just anyone; always check for the shield.” Alan Murray, BSIF CEO


In Conclusion


The BSIF's stark warning serves as a wake-up call for all stakeholders in the safety industry. TEAM Safety Services echoes the urgency of implementing stringent measures in PPE procurement to ensure the safety and well-being of users. By prioritising compliance and partnering with BSIF Registered Safety Suppliers, we can collectively contribute to a safer work environment and protect individuals from the hidden dangers posed by substandard personal protective equipment.



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