Safety Group Warns About Noncompliant Safety Equipment

The British Safety Industry Federation found that 85% of safety products it tested between December 2021 and December 2022 failed to meet its regulatory criteria.

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The British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) is warning those in charge of PPE and safety product procurement to be vigilant about substandard products, as their latest nonmember product tests highlight the availability of high levels of noncompliant products.

Between December 2021 and December 2022, the BSIF completed tests on 127 nonmember products, which included checking their compliance with relevant standards and testing whether they perform as advertised. Only 18 (15%) of these products were fully compliant. This means 108 products (85%) failed to meet the regulatory criteria, many of which are still available and being sold to unsuspecting users.

Substandard products the BSIF came across for sale in 2022 include:

  • An “indestructible safety trainer” that failed the midsole penetration test
  • “Cut-resistant gloves” that didn’t pass the relevant cut test
  • A “safety harness and lanyard” provided without any user instructions or documentation

The findings around nonmember products are in contrast with the results of tests carried out on products supplied by BSIF Registered Safety Suppliers who are committed to only selling certified PPE and trading honestly and ethically.
Registered Safety Supplier’s products are tested annually as part of the scheme’s audit process, and, if products fail to meet the test’s strict criteria, any issues must be addressed and rectified immediately for members to remain part of the scheme. Of 387 tests completed on Registered Safety Supplier’s products between December 2021 and December 2022, 332 products (86%) passed immediately, and, of the 55 (14%) that initially didn’t meet the test criteria, all issues have now been resolved.

“Our latest findings are very concerning and reinforce the importance of only using a BSIF Registered Safety Supplier when procuring PPE and safety equipment,” BSIF CEO Alan Murray said. “The reality is that selling PPE and safety equipment comes with complex responsibilities and it can be hard for even the most diligent suppliers to keep up with the rules and regulations. That’s why at the BSIF we maintain that, even though anyone can sell safety, you shouldn’t buy safety from just anyone.”