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10 INSIGHT See more like this online at: www.hsmsearch.com GOING THE EXTRA MILE In a world where the safety and performance of products is of utmost importance, it’s essential companies know how to distinguish between a product that meets the minimum safety requirements and ones which will go above and beyond, explains Andy Butterfield, global head of Construction at BSI. In a rapidly changing world, it’s becoming increasingly important for companies to meet their legal obligations but remain competitive. One of the most effective ways to stand out from the crowd is for organisations to invest in products and services which have been tested to the highest levels.  The BSI Kitemark is one of Britain’s most important consumer quality marks and has been used for more than 100 years. Recognised by over 72% of British consumers, it provides a clear and independent confirmation of quality, safety and trust. However, there is still widespread confusion in the industry regarding the BSI Kitemark and the CE mark. There are distinctive differences but consumers and businesses may not be aware of exactly what these are. A BSI Kitemark is voluntary, whereas CE marking is required by law. Due to the frequency with which we see the CE marking symbol on many products, there is a general misconception that CE marking covers more than it actually does.   CE marking attached to a product is a manufacturer’s claim that it meets all the requirements of the European legislation. These are the minimum legal requirements. In its simplest form CE marking may cover a single performance characteristic and require no involvement of a third party, it is a manufacturer’s self-declaration and means it is legal to place the product on the market.  At its most complex level it requires a Notified Body (NB) to select samples, conduct the tests, regularly assess the factory production control and take further samples, however this level of NB involvement is rare and limited to a few safety critical products. For the majority of products, CE marking requires the manufacturer to obtain NB test evidence for a few characteristics and declare their Factory Product Control meets the requirements laid down in the standard. In many cases the test data may be cascaded to them from their suppliers and they may never have a test carried out on one of their products. The BSI Kitemark is very different; it goes much further than CE marking and covers many more characteristics, not to mention the regularity of testing and the way in which products are produced using factory production controls.  For example, CE marking covers the essential characteristics for testing for windows and doors (not on escape routes). These are mandatory: Dangerous substances; Load bearing capacity of safety devices; and Thermal transmittance. However, the additional characteristics tested for by the BSI Kitemark are: Weather tightness; Operating forces for PVC-U; Durability; and Security. And for fire extinguishers equally there is a fundamental difference. CE marking would ensure that the products would not cause harm in use but it would not cover the effectiveness of the extinguisher to put out a fire or cover the ability of the extinguisher to function after ageing and in all environmental conditions. One of the many advantages of the BSI Kitemark is the reassurance that it gives customers. It’s ultimately a message of quality, safety and trust. For example, we visit the manufacturer, assess their Factory Production Control system and monitor their Quality Management System to ensure continuing quality production. Our independent certification verifies the product’s performance, we test and assess the manufacturer’s product and quality management system and confirm the manufactures performance claims.  Whilst many health and safety execs are rightly focusing on their legal obligations, they must not lose sight of the commercial need to ensure a robust market position and secure a competitive edge. Test evidence, factory production control processes, performance claims and CE labels are no longer ‘nice to haves’ but ‘need to haves’ within this environment. This means that professionals in the health and safety industry must think carefully about the performance they need from CE marked products and consider if the CE mark goes far enough. Tel: 01908 814595 “Professionals in the health and safety industry must think carefully about the performance they need from CE marked products and consider if the CE mark goes far enough...” NEW CATALOGUE OUT NOW Our biggest ever catalogue, 972 pages with new products, new ranges and new brands. To get your FREE copy go to arco.co.uk/catrequests


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