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CEO's desk - October 21 25/10/2021

Alan Murray recently delivered a speech to an audience at the Chartered Trading Standards Institute. Here he provides an insight.

AS I am writing this piece the country is in the midst of a very real or, perceived fuel crisis, so it is somewhat difficult to feel that we are “returning to normal”! Nonetheless, I am delighted to report that that the Health and Safety Event, our national exhibition, went ahead as planned and ran from the 7 until the 9tof September at the NEC. The show was a great success with visitor numbers high and exhibitors pleased to be reporting that they had seen high quality enquiries coming through. Hopefully a milestone passed as we attempt to put the restrictions of the pandemic behind us.

The NEC was definitely a good news event and that was hard on the heels of the government having announced an additional year to the standstill period, which allowed CE marked product to continue to be placed on the GB without the need for compliance with the UKCA regime, through until January 1 2023. This sensible step was taken in response to wide ranging lobbying, where it was made clear to the government that the supply chains were simply not ready to implement against such a short and arbitrary time frame. Bringing changes to UKCA implementation further up to date, the Office for Product Safety and Standards announced on September 17 that the requirement to fix the UKCA or indeed the UKNI mark will benefit from a further year too, meaning the physical marking of the product only becomes mandatory on the 1 January 2024.

As readers of HSM are aware quality of PPE and Safety Equipment along with the capability of those who market safety in the UK is of prime importance to BSIF and our membership. Quality and capability add up to a safer worker and a level playing field in the UK. On this note I was asked to speak to the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, the professional body for trading standards professionals. I had the opportunity at their 2021 Symposium’s main plenary session to speak to the profession and shared the stage with their President, Lord Lindsay, Paul Scully Under-Secretary of State at BEIS and the minister responsible for product safety, the individual with whom we did some serious lobbying on the UKCA/CE implementation dates. Also on the panel were Will Cresswell, Deputy Director of the Office for Product Safety and Standards and Caroline North, Director of Enforcement along with their colleague Michael Kearney, Head of Business Engagement, who chaired the Q&A panel.

Not untypical of these events the Parliamentary and Department speakers were fulsome in their praise for the work done by CTSI members during the last 2 years and throughout the pandemic. The praise articulated was justified and the Trading Standards professionals are due credit for their efforts in an environment which badly needs resourced properly. My opportunity was to, with respect, tell the audience and the panel how it really is in the PPE market.

My journey with trading standards began some years ago and for years, we have been trying to make it clear to the market that while anyone is entitled to market safety and PPE, businesses (as PPE is most often a B2B market) should not buy safety from just anyone. Many people eventually found that out the hard way in 2019 and early 2020.

While acutely aware of the resource challenges that the profession has faced, which is indeed also reflected within the Health and Safety Executive as the other in-market, market surveillance authority it was and is my view that this split responsibility is not working, with HSE responsible for PPE in the workplace where the vast majority is consumed and TS responsible for product offered to the consumer. 

  1. The supply chain of course does not differentiate B2B and B2C

  2. The problem with non-compliant PPE starts in the supply chain. The solution sits in the Supply chain before non-compliant unsafe product can gets to the wearer
    HSE does not have natural access to the supply chain, Trading Standards however, does!

Now, BSIF and BSIF members have a Primary Authority partnership with Hertfordshire and since the programme’s inception we work very closely indeed with them. The partnership is however, perhaps different as I can say without fear of contradiction that BSIF lead the partnership for PPE. However, the partnership is strong, proactive and it has delivered success on several initiatives in the last couple of years.

My central frustration in the Trading Standards arena is the difficulty in getting the Local Authorities and Councils to work together in response to an issue. Different local authorities have themselves different pressures and priorities and the lack of active collaboration and following up on examples raised is totally unacceptable. This is before we deal with the scourge of on-line fulfilment or advertising via social media channels.

I called for the process to be less of a burden for Trading Standards as I wholeheartedly believe that PPE which is not proven to be safe and compliant with the Regulation should immediately be considered as high risk and intervention should take place, without having to have further investigate and go through expensive testing, for which they have little or no budget.

An over-arching theme for the symposium was trading standards supporting business however, I made it clear that enforcement itself, is support for business and support for a fair market place. Lack of enforcement undermines regulation penalising good businesses who comply and allows rogues to peddle unsafe PPE. PPE is utilised to mitigate an existing hazard if it does not perform it puts wearers immediately at risk.

Economic operators must prove it is safe or immediately face the consequences.

In closing I offered the expertise of BSIF to be at the disposal of Trading Standards and help to create a safer and fairer marketplace for PPE in the UK.

Alan Murray is chief executive of BSIF. For more information, visit www.bsif.co.uk

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Heads together 12/08/2021

THE BSIF PPE conference, which is still available on demand, highlighted the importance of PPE as a control measure. Alan Murray highlights the key messages from the event.

THE PPE Insights publication is an ideal opportunity to remind ourselves of the PPE issues uncovered during the pandemic and an ideal platform to look beyond Covid. Following the tumultuous events of 2020 the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) and the Safety Industry chose to run a virtual conference to highlight the role of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as a control measure, in an effective safety and health policy, and indeed the efforts that exist in the market to ensure that quality fit for purpose product is provided through a capable supply chain. One outcome from the pandemic is the appreciation that there are unseen hazards that we face and there is now a better understanding of the role PPE can play in protecting workforces.

The date of April 28 2021 was chosen to coincide with the date, which would have seen us all together at the National, Health and Safety Event at the NEC which was due to postponed until the 7 September. April 28 was also the International Workers Memorial Day, so the timing seemed very apt.

Notwithstanding the specific date, the market had started to look forward with optimism to the return to work and with the events of 2020 raising the profile of PPE in the public consciousness it was the opportune time to remind ourselves of the way that things should be. The timing is also appropriate as we had arrived at the end of the product easements and derogations from the Regulation 2016/425. Further we are now out of the EU and faced with the ongoing challenges under the UK Conformity Assessment regime.

The early months of the pandemic and the breakdown of traditional PPE supply chains saw the influx of a huge amount of non-compliant product being imported by businesses with little or no knowledge of the Regulatory framework and during the year BSIF provided vital intel to the authorities, reporting over 350 products and traders who required investigation. This reporting went to the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Trading Standards (TS) and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA). MHRA was involved as there were many products which were crossing over in their purpose, between PPE and Medical Devices. All of the presentations from the 28 April can be viewed again by going to HSM Search at https://sees.evessiocloud.com/live/en/page/home and registering for the conference.

Following a short welcome by Alan Murray of the BSIF, the conference was opened by a keynote speech from Sarah Albon, chief executive of the HSE, who covered a review of their activities during the challenges of Covid and the day to day work involved in the HSE delivering on its Regulatory responsibilities, including the setting up of specific resources to bring policy and regulatory responsibilities into one unit. While highlighting the role that PPE plays in keeping workers safe Sarah also referenced the collaborative working between HSE and BSIF at several levels including participation in the BSIF Special Interest Groups (SIGs). The opening keynote led directly, in terms of message and content into the next session on market surveillance. The work undertaken by the HSE on Covid related PPE has led to the establishment of the new Product Safety Market Surveillance Unit (PSMSU).

Following the HSE chief executive we saw a joint session on market surveillance from the leads of the two responsible authorities HSE and TS. HSE are challenged with market surveillance of PPE when it is used at work, with that responsibility falling to TS when product is being supplied to “private individuals”. The HSE element was presented by Harvey Wild, Head of the HSE Virtual PPE Unit. The presentation outlined the current and future activities of HSE in this area. Harvey Wild explained the HSE’s role during Covid and the regulatory easements supported by a PPE triage and technical team underpinning the decision making unit who were charged with releasing only safe PPE to the market. Harvey told the audience that during this period the HSE had been agreed 895 requests for easement release and that 231 in-market investigations on non-compliant PPE had been and are being undertaken. So far there have been 18 withdrawal demands and 2 recall notices raised.

For Trading Standards, Vicki Burch of Hertfordshire TS, Primary Authority partner of BSIF spoke on the PPE Regulation and the involvement of TS. Vicki was keen to stress that in addition to the duty to enforce regulation TS also provided advice to wide ranging businesses on achieving compliance. The relationships with other TS organisations were outlined and the difficulty of achieving a national approach was stressed. During the presentation we saw detailed information on the PPE related work focussing first on the Covid items including KN95 masks, before the other general areas of activity were outlined including work on Motorcycle Clothing, Hand Protection, Safety Footwear and Cricket equipment, all in conjunction with BSIF.

The opportunity for the audience to hear directly from the market surveillance authorities was greatly appreciated as was their willingness to answer questions posed. However, there can be no doubt that a historically passive approach to enforcing regulatory compliance in PPE needs to change. It remains a concern that surveillance responsibilities for PPE are divided between HSE and TS as the supply channels do not differentiate between at work and private consumer and this leads to confusion.

The conference then heard about the situation that the industry faces through the presentation on the Registered Safety Supplier Scheme by Roy Wilders of the BSIF.

In his presentation Roy was clear on the role that quality PPE and capable suppliers play in effective safety and health management, a message that those in the industry know of course, but Roy brought this home by taking the audience back through the audit results of 2020 covering auditing and testing with members and with non-members. In the results of the audits we saw that even within the membership 15% of product audits resulted in non-compliances. Happily all these were quickly resolved and the members further invigorated in their commitment to self-policing. On the other hand when we looked at results from market testing with non-members, where BSIF have no opportunity to sanction, we see that the failure rate is 38% of the 98 products tested, and if we add in non-compliance due to missing documentation, as required by the Regulation, this failure level goes up to 100%. Roy then took the opportunity to report on what he called a “Super Market Sweep”, where he and a colleague, restricted to one hour, purchased 27 pieces of PPE across the product ranges, from on-line market places or trader’s own web sites, with 19 of these products found to be non-compliant. The challenge of on-line selling of PPE is the responsibility of the authorities but clearly their lack of success is leaving wearers exposed to risk of unsafe product. This presentation ended with a timely reminder that while anyone is allowed to sell PPE and safety products purchasers need to source intelligently, from capable suppliers.

RPE Face Fit Testing and the Fit2Fit Scheme overview was presented by Nick Baxter from the HSE Science Division, supported by Alan Murray of BSIF. The session covered why tight fitting Respiratory Protective Equipment must be fit tested, contrasting the HSE annual fatality figures of 111 deaths from workplace accidents with the 12,000 deaths a year from occupational lung disease. The session which included some informative videos covered what must be fit tested, why, the legal duties and what happens if a face mask does not fit a wearer. In the presentation an explanation was given as to the accepted methods of face fitting and the need to have these carried out competently.

The key messages of the morning sessions were taken forward to the afternoon keynote speech from Sarah Smith, deputy CEO of OPSS, the government agency who own policy for product safety in all sectors in this country. Sarah spoke of recent experiences and the situation of PPE hitherto an established product category supplied in the main through traditional channels and the new difficulties of this regulated category being supplied by new entrants, with no knowledge of the regulation or the product range they were marketing. Sarah reminded the audience that we are now in a post EU world and OPSS are looking for comment in the consultation on the future of the product safety framework. The opportunity to comment ended in June and OPSS are working thorough the results. The observation was put to Sarah that while the existing framework is believed to be fit for purpose its value is undermined by a light touch, passive approach to enforcement. Various other pertinent questions were raised which can be seen by looking back at the conference speech on the HSM website.

Continuing the theme of PPE in a post EU controlled UK market, Euan Fraser head of engineering and technical tervices at OPSS took the audience through the Regulators guide to UKCA and PPE, illustrating some helpful worked examples for both the GB and NI markets. 

Following on from the 2nd OPSS presentation of the day, the conference then heard from the Chairs of all of the BSIF Special Interest Groups (SIGS) which are involved with PPE. The members of the SIGs are drawn from across BSIF, and the groups are dedicated to work on standards development, issue resolution and the creation of guidance for end users who have chosen to utilise PPE as part of their safety and health management policies. The audience heard presentations from the chairs of the groups involved in protective gloves and clothing, eye face hearing and head protection, safety footwear, height safety and respiratory protection with a final presentation from the chair of the BSIF Test and Certification Association whose membership comes from the UKCA Approved Bodies and UKAS approved Test Houses, drawing the Regulatory requirements of PPE together.

A great session illustrating the value and dedication of these groups to safety provided by PPE and its proper use. The SIGs took the opportunity to highlight their work on guidance for end users.

This concluded a thought provoking day, highlighting the value of good PPE and the capability the market should expect from the supply chain.

April’s PPE conference was a timely reminder of the expertise within the BSIF membership that is dedicated to safety. Covid elevated the profile of PPE but the task of ensuring that only good quality product used to protect individuals remains and is as important as it ever was.

Alan Murray is chief executive at the BSIF. For more information, visit www.bsif.com

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CEO's desk - August 21 12/08/2021

Alan Murray applauds the efforts and the successes of the 2020 BSIF Safety Awards.

SUDDENLY, IT seems that summer is passing by and we are already eight months into the post Brexit period. From a Regulatory point of view the team at BSIF are still working hard with the authorities and the Approved Bodies on the implementation of the rules and their detailed application. At the end of this year the standstill period which allows the acceptance of CE marked product being first placed on the market in GB ends and will be replaced by UKCA. 

This deadline is to a great extent arbitrary and politically expedient and I have been in correspondence with senior politicians calling for this change-over date to be extended to reflect the rules applying to Medical Devices where the standstill period runs through to June 2023. I have made the case, that given the challenges in PPE last year and “Easement 2020/403” this category should be treated as a special case. To date my requests for date changes have not been accepted. We will keep you informed of any news on that front.

However, as we continue to take steps back on the road to normal commercial life I wanted to dedicate this column to applauding the efforts and celebrating the successes of the 2020 BSIF Safety Awards. Our 2020 “Awards” were delayed till this year and for obvious reasons they could not be celebrated in the traditional way with our black tie awards event. Notwithstanding, there was a fantastic entry and the winners were announced at our virtual event, hosted brilliantly by Alistair McGowan on the 28th of April.

The four award categories were Product Innovation, Safety Solutions, Customer Service and for the first time our new award in Water Pollution Prevention.

Product Innovation: The entries in this category were at record numbers and once again reflected the dedication and creativity that manufacturers and user partners put into their mission of keeping people safe. The entries reflected fantastically designed products and systems that will contribute to improvements in occupational health outcomes in the UK.

Winner – Coming out on top was the “Net Recovery System” from the Brilliant Ideas Company. This innovative system can be used on sites where safety netting is used during the construction of new building floors. The system is enables the timely recovery of any person who has fallen or dropped into the netting. Netting will halt the fall of an injured or ill person, but timely recovery of the individual from the netting is vital for their future. 

Brilliant Ideas commented on how delighted they were to have won, citing their ongoing mission and passion to improve health and safety in construction by the creation of new products.

Deciding on winners is a very tough task and the independent panel, as ever, had a very difficult job in separating the winner form the highly commended entrants.

Highly Commended – Design Reality with their “Fit Check Technology”, a system for respirator sensing, monitoring and alerting to accurately determine if the donned full face or half mask is fitting effectively. This system reassures the wearer that the mask on which they were fit tested is donned correctly and performing each and every time it is worn.

Design Reality’s Mel Randall said that they were honoured that the product and the company were recognised for their innovative approach to RPE compliance and the opportunity to protect thousands of workers in hazardous environments.

Highly Commended – Kier Highways and the “Instaboom”, an incredibly useful innovation for preventing vehicles coming too close to workforces in busy and challenging environments such as motorways and highways.

On behalf of Kier, Darren Ruane stated how proud they were to receive the award.

With the overall winner and 2 highly commended entrants decided upon, the Product Innovation category winners were completed by 2 further Commended entries. Centurion Safety with XIV Arc Screen, utilising nanotechnology that uses the arc energy to modify the screen at the point of the flash and Panduit Verisafe with their Voltage Assessor system. Panduit Verisafe’s simple push button system enables the confirmation of the absence of any voltage before electrical equipment is accessed. Well done everyone!

The Safety Solution Award: This highly sought after award is central to the purpose of BSIF and the membership recognising major improvements in occupational safety derived through supplier and customer collaboration in addressing safety challenges.

Winner- Hunter Apparel Solutions, with the programme developed to improve the long term health outcomes for fire fighters. The initiative brings together high quality PPE and its care and process management delivering ongoing protection levels to maintain protection levels for wearers. 

In the Safety Solutions Award there were 3 further Commended entries

Lyreco - with a holistic PPE sourcing and management system delivering reduced safety incidents and a happy confident workforce at Kuehne and Nagel across the UK.

VPS UK Ltd - were commended for their holistic solution to worker safety on highways involving an integrated system of cameras, sensors and warnings to alert unauthorised vehicles inadvertently approaching areas with highway operatives.

Brilliant Ideas – already the winner in the Product Innovation Category Brilliant Ideas were commended further in Safety Solutions section for their system to ensure vehicle stability when lifting heavy pallets from delivery vehicles

Customer Service Award: Innovative products and creative solutions are vital as is reliable, effective customer service when it comes to completing the delivery of safety in this market. The BSIF Customer Service Awards recognises exceptional service in our field and is voted for by entrants own customers.

Winner – Essential Skillz

Highly Commended – Concept Products and Martor Safety knives

Commended – Lyreco and Seton

In winning the award for the second year in a row Essential Skillz stated that in addition to being incredibly proud of their win and the efforts of their entire team they are delighted to feel that their customers feel the same as they do.

Lyreco said they were delighted to win a Commended award for both Safety Solutions and Customer Service. Lyreco‘s strategic focus is to protect people and the environment and these awards recognise the work it is doing to support its customers and their PPE requirements. 

Pictured from left to right collecting Lyreco's award from BSIF's Roy Wilder is senior product manager hand & foot protection Nadine Sherwood, head of category – PPE Helen Moran and product manager – above the neck protection Alison Hendy.

Water Pollution Prevention Award: With the damage by human activity to the environment in sharp focus, along with safety and health the BSIF Water Pollution Prevention Awards were established to recognise key management programmes, products and initiates in this vital area of protection.

Joint Winners – Loughborough University and River and Canal Rescue with Bilgeaway.

The joint-winner entry from Loughborough University included a detailed environmental management plan across their extensive campus which involves sensitive diverse sites including two ancient woodlands and interconnected watercourses. The plan protects and manages the environment while providing access to a large university population of over 20,000.

The other joint-winner entry from River and Canal Rescue featured their Bilgeaway pump system which is the world’s first environmentally friendly discharge filter protecting our fragile waterways from the scourge of contamination by hydrocarbons.

River and Canal Rescue said they were “over the moon” to receive this award and the recognition of its contribution in protecting our fragile waterways. Similarly Nik Hunt of Loughborough said that the University was delighted to receive the award and the recognition of the hard work that goes into protecting such a large campus.

In closing, and with no time to catch breath the BSIF Safety Awards for 2021 are now underway, as we attempt to catch up with our normal annual timetable, disrupted like everything else by the pandemic. Thank you to all our past, present and future entrants your efforts make a significant contribution to Safety, Health and the Environment.

Alan Murray is chief executive of BSIF. For more information, visit www.bsif.co.uk

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Spotlight on Luke Neale 13/07/2021

LUKE NEALE is the new Registered Safety Supplier Scheme Audit & Compliance Assessor at BSIF. We find out how he has settled into his role.

How much did you know about the RSSS before you joined BSIF?

I had a really good knowledge of the RSSS and the audit process before joining because the company I worked for previously are members of the RSSS and it was my responsibility to conduct the audit, so I experienced two audits from the ‘other side of the desk’ before joining the Federation.

Could you tell us a bit about your role and how an additional Auditor benefits the RSSS?

With a membership of over 300 organisations each requiring an annual audit, it was a challenge for the team to conduct all of the audits as well as invigilating the final SSA exams and also dealing with the many day-to-day enquiries from our membership and external organisations. I was primarily brought on board to conduct Audits and respond to enquires our members may have in relation any number of topics, such as the various standards in place covering PPE, testing, documentation, certification and UKCA to name a few. I genuinely love my job and enjoy engaging with our members each day.

I’m really looking forward to the networking event this year – it’s going to be a fantastic opportunity to meet our members and get together with the BSIF team!

After six months working within the scheme has anything surprised you?

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the depth of knowledge & level of expertise that our members have within the PPE Product & Service sector as well as the safety industry in general.

What has been the biggest challenge for you in regard to the RSSS throughout the last six months?

There have been various challenges for me since joining the BSIF, obviously the pandemic has had a massive impact on our members in many ways, and the reduced staffing levels and remote working situations have been a challenge to the audit process. The regional and national lockdowns have prevented the final invigilated Safe Supply Accreditation course exams taking place, but I’m pleased to say we are in the process of arranging these exams now, so if any of our members are in the position to sit their final exam, I would encourage them to get in touch so we can make arrangements to invigilate.

UKCA is also representing a challenge for our members as they try to get to grips with their obligations in relation to the transition from CE to UKCA.

Another strange aspect of joining BSIF when I did is that I have yet to meet all of the team or visit the head office! I hope to do so before too much longer. 

Has your perception of members changed since you started here?

It has – whilst I already held the view that our members were committed to the RSSS, conducting the audits and engaging with our members has shown me just how dedicated they are to the supply of compliant safety products and services.

How do you think the RSSS helps the marketplace and general standard of H&S in UK workplaces?

Earlier in the year, Roy Wilders and I conducted a ‘Supermarket Sweep’ where we had one hour to source as much PPE from non-members as we could. I bought motorcycle clothing, protective gloves, safety footwear, Hi Vis and flame retardant clothing. I have to say, the results shocked me – for the most part the products were supplied without any of the required documentation – Declarations of Conformity, User Instructions etc. and when these were requested from the supplier, more often than not we were met with silence. Some of the products tested didn’t perform as claimed either – I tested a glove claiming to be cut level F and it only achieved level B – needless to say these products and traders have all been reported to the relevant Market Surveillance authorities.

I’m pleased to say that we don’t have any such issues with our members, and the audit verifies their status as a fully compliant supplier of safety equipment & services. In short, membership of the scheme makes the marketplace safer and in turn saves lives.

Do you find enthusiasm for the scheme from the companies you audit to adhere to the scheme?

In all honesty, the members of the scheme wear the Shield of Protection with pride – without exception all of our members are eager to ‘do the right thing’ in terms of the relevant legislation and the systems many of them have in place are really impressive.

What advice can you give to people looking for a supplier?

The BSIF/RSSS website has an excellent search feature where you can filter by product type or service, these can be found by visiting www.registeredsafetysupplierscheme.co.uk

What is involved in an RSSS audit?

As many of our members will attest, the audit process is relatively quick to do and really straightforward – we make checks to ensure that the member is aware of their obligations under the relevant legislation and that they have correct and relevant systems in place. Where relevant we also perform an indicative test on PPE to verify the claims made through a UKAS approved lab.

How important do you see the role of the Safe Supply Accreditation in helping to raise the standards of PPE/Safety equipment sellers? 

The role is crucial, educating those selling PPE/safety equipment is key to improving the supply chain, all RSSS members commit to having their customer facing staff trained in safe supply, the qualification teaches them their obligations in regards to the supply of the product, knowledge they can then pass on to customers when helping to select appropriate PPE/Safety equipment.

Why do you think the RSSS has become so important firstly to companies that operate within the PPE/Safety product and service sector and secondly to those that purchase PPE/safety products and services?

Simply put, by using a member of the RSSS you can be sure that the product you are buying is safe and fully compliant.

What’s next for the RSSS? How do you see it developing?

We often ask for feedback from our members during audits to see if there are things we can do better or differently to give them the most value from the scheme – we always take their comments on board and we will be looking to incorporate some extra features in the coming year to give the members more value and to make the scheme more robust.

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The Health & Safety Event 2021 07/07/2021

THE BSIF will be at the Health & Safety Event at the NEC from the 7 - 9 September.

The Health & Safety Event showcases the latest products and services from the industry and is the meeting place for anyone responsible for running a safe and efficient workplace. The event has grown to be the fastest growing exhibition in its sector, attracting the UK’s largest decision makers and specifiers looking for product information, solutions and best practice.

Date: 7th – 9th September 2021

Location: NEC, Birmingham


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BSIF's RSSS named as finalist in OPSS Awards 07/07/2021

BSIF WAS delighted to be named as a Finalist in the OPSS Regulatory Excellence Awards 2021. The awards celebrate outstanding achievements in supporting businesses and protecting consumers, contributing towards fighting coronavirus, rebuilding the economy, and unleashing innovation.

The BSIF put forward the Registered Safety Supplier Scheme as the entry and it was duly named as a finalist in the hotly contested Product Safety category.

The Mission of the scheme is to provide assurance to users that only compliant and correctly performing products are being supplied through a capable, educated, competent supply chain. The scheme provides a recognised route to enable a member to demonstrate compliance and due diligence.

The RSSS is open only to members of the BSIF, and a mandatory requirement for all members engaged in PPE manufacturing, marketing and supply. New members to the BSIF need to work towards achieving Registered Safety Supplier Scheme status within the first 6 Months of BSIF membership.

A Registered Safety Supplier Scheme member…

  • Formally declares and commits to selling only Certified PPE and safety products that perform to claims made
  • Ensures that they meet all the responsibilities of the PPE Regulation (EU) 2016/425
  • Submits their products to random independent performance testing
  • Commits to having their customer facing staff educated and accredited in the Safe Supply Course
  • Maintains a company Quality Policy
  • Holds necessary authorisation for service provision
  • As a Federation member trades honestly and ethically

On hearing the Registered Safety Supplier Scheme had been named as a finalist BSIF CEO Alan Murray said, “We at BSIF are delighted to hear that the RSSS has been named as a finalist, the excellent work of the scheme through the members involved with it is helping to ensure that critical products such as PPE and safety equipment meet their regulatory requirements which helps to keep the UK workforce safe while also contributing to a fairer marketplace which helps to keep people safer every day.”

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CEO's desk - June 2021 08/06/2021

Alan Murray provides an insight into the UK Product Safety Review 2021 and the view of the BSIF from a PPE perspective

IN MARCH this year the Office for Product Safety & Standards (OPSS) launched a “call for evidence” to inform their review of the UK’s current product safety regulatory framework, for a wide range of goods put on the market in the UK. 

The existing framework is based largely on EU Regulation, shifted into UK law and having left the European Union it was seen as an opportunity to ensure that our approach is fit for the future and meets UK needs.

The review set out to look at whether the framework ensures consumer protection from unsafe goods, whether it is easy to follow, flexible enough to support business growth and innovation and can respond quickly and effectively to any threats contained in new methods of supply such as digital and on-line trading.

The methodology in collecting of information by OPSS in their call for evidence included business reference panels and stakeholder events, direct comment and an on-line survey of some 26 questions. The evidence was sought across areas including, product design, placing on the market, new models of supply, new products and innovation and it also included consideration on enforcement methodology. 

The call for evidence closed on the 17th of June and I hope that you took the opportunity to give your views.

The BSIF view, expressed from a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) perspective, is that by and large the framework and the PPE Regulation is fit for purpose. However, and it is a big however, the lack of enforcement threatens to entirely undermine the regulation, the safety of users and contributes to a distortion of the market. We have known this for some time and we have continually made representation calling for the market surveillance authorities to be more active in discharging their responsibilities. 

The enforcement of PPE Regulations in the UK is, as you are probably aware, split between HSE (for product used at work) and Trading Standards (for product offered to private individuals). This model is not necessarily an effective structural approach for a number of reasons. Supply channels are rarely separate, trading standards officers work for local authorities and are not a joined up entity and HSE will only hear about PPE issues following reports or during infrequent health and safety inspections.

We know these problems of course, but there is also a deeper problem that is rooted in the definition of “unsafe” products.

Within the product safety framework a product is unsafe if it, or using it has the potential to cause harm. That is why the examples of unsafe products that we see are those that could present risk to users, such as those that contain toxic materials or compounds, products that could cause electrocution and fires and products that present a risk of choking or strangulation. That does not work for PPE.

PPE items of course, cannot in themselves be allowed to cause harm and that is dealt with in “Essential Health and Safety Requirements”. However, the product safety framework does not adequately appreciate its vital role and the reason that PPE is deployed. Our view is crystal clear, and that is that product safety must be recognised as going beyond the absence of potential hazards inherent in a product. PPE is of course designed to be worn to protect users from a previously identified hazard in an environment or as part of a task. The utilisation of PPE as a control measure comes only after other control measures have failed to adequately remove or reduce or mitigate the risk of harm to a wearer. PPE which does not perform in a hazardous environment, to its stated claims, presents a clear and obvious danger for the user. 

Consider a chemical suit, a flame retardant garment or a respirator which fails work as they are supposed to! The circumstances of use, make PPE which does not perform unsafe and this status must be recognised.

Product performance standards require that PPE is conformity assessed to ensure that it performs and it is subsequently certified as doing so. The assessment and ongoing quality assurance is evidenced by prescribed documents and these are made available to users.

It is our contention that any PPE items which are placed on the market without the required documentation should be deemed as unsafe and enforcement action taken without the need for further time, consuming and expensive investigation by authorities who are resource poor to begin with.

The default position must be that any piece of PPE which has not been proven, in line with Regulation 2016/425, to perform to claims be classified as unsafe and should be removed from sale.

This is the angle that we are pursuing with the Office for Product Safety and Standards.

Alan Murray is chief executive of BSIF. For more information, visit www.bsif.co.uk


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Events 19/05/2021

BSIF HAVE partnered with The Contamination & Geotech Expo.

Event organisers ROAR B2B are pleased to announce that the registrations are now open for the long awaited 2021 edition of the Contamination & Geotech Expo, taking place on 22-23 September. The event will welcome a plethora of visitors, thought-leading exhibitors and expert speakers to the NEC, Birmingham for an exhibition which can truly connect the industry.

After extensive research carried out by ROAR B2B, the resounding message from the sector showed that the Contamination & Geotech Expo is a key component in reigniting the market after such an uncertain period, and the event organisers are looking forward to presenting the exhibition that the market deserves.

The Contamination & Geotech Expo 2021 will provide an environment for education and networking. Boasting expert led CPD accredited seminars and cutting-edge suppliers, the event will address the latest topics, trends and solutions surrounding all things Contamination, Geotechnical and Environmental. In addition to a new Local Authority Lounge, the 2021 show will have live demonstrations showcasing the latest technology, as well as market-leading companies, equipped with the industry's finest solution-led products and services.

The Contamination & Geotech Expo is free to attend, and you can register for your ticket here. The organisers look forward to welcoming you back to the UK's leading event for Contamination, Geotechnical and Environmental professionals. 

Click here to enquire about being an exhibitor.

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BSIF Safety Awards 2020 19/05/2021

THE BSIF Safety Awards 2020 winners were announced during a digital event on 28th April 2021.

The delayed awards were hosted by comedian and impressionist Alistair McGowan who delivered a fantastic routine before unveiling the successful candidates in the four award categories; Product Innovation, Safety Solution, Customer Service  and Water Pollution Prevention.

Congratulations to all those that were recognised for the excellent work within the Health & Safety sector.

Product Innovation Award 2020

Product Innovation: An award for products that are new and innovative and will contribute to improvements in occupational safety & health within the UK.

Brilliant Ideas - Net Recovery System - Winner

Design Reality - FitCheck® technology - Highly Commended

Keir Highways - Instaboom - Highly Commended

Centurion - XIV Arc Screen - Commended

Panduit Verisafe - Voltage Assesser - Commended

Safety Solution Award 2020

Safety Solutions: Based upon case studies submitted by members, these awards recognise major improvements in occupational safety as a result of a supplier/customer project created in 2018/2019.

Hunter Apparel Solutions Winner

VPS UK Ltd Highly Commended

Brilliant Ideas Commended

Lyreco Commended

Customer Service Award 2020

An award for companies in the safety field offering exceptional and innovative service solutions. Voted for by the entrants’ own customers who respond to questionnaires focusing on their supplier’s service.

EssentialSkillz Winner

Concept Products Highly Commended

Martor Highly Commended

Lyreco Commended

Seton Commended

Water Pollution Prevention Award 2020

BilgeAway - River Canal Rescue

Loughborough University

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New member profile 19/05/2021

OPTREL WAS started in 1986 as a pioneer in the field of automatically darkening welding helmets.

Today we are a leading global supplier of face and head protection products, breathing protection solutions and active sunglasses. The new Swiss Air TH3 powered Air Half Mask is an example of constant innovation that Optrel strives for. 

Joining the BSIF is a sign of our commitment to UK safety industry and forms part of our journey to make the workplace safer.

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