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From the Secretary's desk

23 January 2013

The recent review of the "It's in your hands" campaign has clearly demonstrated that a combined approach by stakeholders and enforcers is considerably more effective than uncoordinated individual initiatives.

The recent review of the "It's in your hands" campaign has clearly demonstrated that a combined approach by stakeholders and enforcers is considerably more effective than uncoordinated individual initiatives.

This has stimulated a wide range of new proposals and focused the BSIF to seek stronger alliances and partnerships to achieve its wider ambitions of encouraging safer working practices.

It is not surprising that currently, there is a considerable focus on respiratory protection. The combination of the seriousness of most respiratory diseases and the number of workers exposed to these hazards ensures that this subject is always high on the safety agenda. This month's launch of the BSIF - HSE driven 'Clean Air? Take Care!' campaign coupled with the Fit2Fit accreditation scheme and the development of a major respiratory activity within the HSE's disease reduction programme, should have the combined effect of developing a much wider appreciation of these hazards and the ways in which these diseases can be avoided.

The BSIF's involvement in assisting a resolution to the crossover between the Medical Devices and the PPE Directives has triggered attention to a similar regulatory cross-over between marine equipment and PPE. Some products come within the scope of both directives but use different standards and completely different compliance markings [wheelmark and CE mark]. Couple this with the fact that the enforcement authorities are also different and the notified body structure contains some organisations which manage only one or the other set of regulations and it is not difficult to understand why confusion exists when products can, at the same time, be both marine equipment and PPE. A BSIF initiative will engage with the Marine Coastguard Agency and the department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) in an attempt to bring some clarity to this situation over the coming months.

The issue raised in France, whereby the French government have taken unilateral action to restrict the sale of fully compliant, CE marked, chemical resistant clothing made from micro-porous materials, is being pursued by the BSIF through BIS in the UK and through the ESF and the EU Commission in Brussels, on behalf of its members. Also now on the BSIF radar is the fact that the EU commission is about to publish that it is to "de-harmonise" some of the standards affecting height safety products. With no alternative standards available, this appears to be a recipe for serious confusion and the BSIF is working hard to find a more efficient solution to this problem.

Readers requiring additional information or who wish to comment on any item appearing in these BSIF pages can contact the BSIF through the editor.

Geoff Hooke
Secretary General to the BSIF
 
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