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CEO's desk - April 23 03/04/2023

With much of BSIF’s focus and resource dedicated to removing unsafe non-compliant PPE and safety equipment from the market, Alan Murray enjoys the opportunity to talk about the BSIF Product Innovation Awards finalists 2023.

GOOD WELL-designed PPE and Safety Equipment can have a very positive effect on wearers physical safety and even their mental wellbeing, knowing products are user friendly, comfortable to wear and will protect them from risk. 

Over time we have seen it all, the good, the bad and the ugliness that can result from products not fit for purpose. So, the BSIF Innovation Awards are a timely reminder of the genius and dedication that is often applied in presenting equipment that helps to keep wearers and users safe today and fit and healthy into the future.

The BSIF Innovation Awards have been running for nearly 3 decades and this year we decided that entries would be split into two categories PPE and (non PPE) Safety Products. We took this step as it was becoming increasingly difficult for the panels of independent judges to evaluate the relative merits of products so diverse in their potential applications.

Product Innovation PPE:

It gives me genuine pleasure to tell you that from a huge entry this years’ finalists are

3M: Presenting their innovative DBI-Sala Exofit XE Harness Series. A pioneering designed system to effect safe, comfortable and efficient working at height.

Ansell: Showing their Inteliforz Motion “Glove”. Living up to their reputation in global safety solutions, Ansell’s “Inteliforz” a tool and a system combining creation, collection and analysis of data on potential harms from repetitive hand movement. 

BLS: Illustrating their progressive Active Shield product an attachment for aiding comfort and wearability in filtering face piece respiratory protection.

Cromwell: From the “Halo” range the Metatarsal Safety Trainer was presented to the judges as a ground-breaking achievement incorporating metatarsal protection in safety trainers, the fastest growing category of the footwear sector.

Dupont: With great pride DuPont demonstrated the Tychem Thermopro garments which for the first time provide triple hazard protection from liquid-chemical splash, flash fire and electric arc in a single layer.

Haix: The renowned footwear brand brought forward the Connexis Safety Footwear range, incorporating the world's first safety footwear with fascia stimulation.

Keypoint: MaxiDex from ATG with Virosan illustrating innovative hand protection, job-fit with the added benefits of the Virosan active antiviral treatment.

Moldex: A respected name in hearing and respiratory protection presented the Adapt Safety Glasses a fresh an different approach to mask-fitting when safety eyewear is also required.

Polyco-Healthline: Proudly presented their new glove “The Bear” from the Armour Guard range illustrating the benefits of waterproof hand protection in hazardous mechanical manual handling.

Rezon: With missionary zeal the Halos Headband presentation illustrated an answer to the challenge of rotational brain injury and its devastating long term consequences 

As you can see from the above the “finalist” range of PPE came from a wide range of manufacturers covering an array of risks. The devotion and commitment that has gone into these products makes you proud to be associated with an industry dedicated to keeping people safe and healthy.

Non PPE: As I said earlier this year for the first time we split Product Innovation into PPE and Non PPE entries and the Non PPE section threw up some fantastic entries, which once again demonstrated considerable human genius with, safety and health as the real prize.

The Finalists:

Alert Technology: The Alert Pro Connected showed the first real time system for detecting asbestos fibres, crucially able to illustrate short duration “peaks” and create effective safety alerts in response.

Casella: The Vortex 3 sampling pump demonstrated the art of engineering and effective design to produce an advanced multi-point system.

FEINProtago high-safety angle grinder. With angle grinders at the centre of many accidents the FEIN Protago demonstrated that careful design and engineering features can eradicate misuse that often leads to accidents.

Protex: It had to be there! The Protex AI illuminated the benefits of AI in safety. Working within site CCTV the Protex system uses AI to model and capture near misses and unsafe behaviours before harm occurs. 

Tended: As with AI Tended illustrated the art of the possible, harnessing satellite based technology to produce the Life Saving Geofencing system to boundary safe and unsafe areas of work especially in the rail industry.

As I said earlier it is fantastic to see such a wide range of products designed to deliver safety where it is needed. I would like to thank all the original entrants and those listed above, the finalists.

In closing I would also like to thank the judges, all respected individuals from the world of safety and all independent of BSIF. The judging of the Product Innovation categories is based upon the entrants submission and consequent product presentation and questioning. Claims regarding the products are taken in good faith at the time of entry submission. BSIF does not endorse the claims made by any company or product that enters into the BSIF awards.

The winners will be announced, along with the winners of the BSIF Safety Excellence and Customer Service Awards during the Safety and Health Excellence Awards, which takes place on the 26 April at The Vox, NEC, Birmingham.

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

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About the British Safety Industry Federation 08/03/2023

THE BRITISH Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) is the UK's leading trade body within the safety industry. BSIF members include manufacturers, distributors, test houses, certification bodies, safety professionals and service providers.

Our aim is to provide support and guidance on a wide range of occupational safety issues.

We suggest buyers and end users follow a simple three-step process when buying PPE to ensure that products are fit for purpose:

1) CHECK your supplier is BSIF registered. BSIF Audited suppliers are compliant, competent and trustworthy. Don't settle for less.

2) SELECT appropriate, certified and compliant products. Registered Safety Suppliers can support the product selection process through their competence, capability and knowledge. 

3) PROTECT your workforce and your business. Registered Safety Suppliers go above and beyond, helping to keep your people safe and helping your business to thrive. 

Anyone can sell safety but you shouldn't buy safety from just anyone: Always specify the shield. 

Find out more at www.bsif.co.uk or by calling (0)1442 248744

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BSIF issues non-compliant PPE warning 08/03/2023

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 non-member product tests highlight the availability of high levels of non-compliant products.

Between December 2021 and December 2022, the BSIF completed tests on 127 non-member 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.

Just a few examples of 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 & lanyard' provided without any user instructions or documentation

The findings around non-member 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 member’s 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.

Buyers and end users can be assured that companies displaying the BSIF shield have signed a binding declaration that the PPE and safety equipment they offer meets the correct standards, fully complies with the regulations and is UKCA and or CE marked. This means that by using a Registered Safety Supplier you can be confident you will receive genuine products that are fit for purpose as well as genuine information and guidance. 

BSIF CEO, Alan Murray comments, “Our latest findings are very concerning and reinforce the importance of only using a BSIF Registered Safety Supplier when procuring PPE and safety equipment. 

“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. 

"We urge all buyers and specifiers to review their current processes and consider what assurances they have that the PPE and safety equipment they are being supplied with is fit for purpose. 

“Specifying a Registered Safety Supplier is the easiest way to ensure you are only dealing with compliant, competent and trustworthy suppliers."

For a full list of Registered Safety Suppliers, visit www.registeredsafetysupplierscheme.co.uk

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BSIF and sustainability 08/03/2023

READING THE excellent PPE Insights published with the September edition of HSM, it is clearly obvious that the PPE manufacturers are focussed on the huge issue of the day, sustainability.

Sustainability is colossal topic and just about as complex as a subject can get. Nonetheless, it is clearly one that the BSIF and the membership must be across, ensuring that the PPE industry is playing its part and is seen to be discharging responsibilities, effectively and legitimately.

So, recognising the multifaceted nature of the Sustainability topic, we created a dedicated strategic working group which set out to develop the necessary approaches, phases to be gone through and timelines for key deliverables on the journey. The approach has been one which recognised two key elements, namely a BSIF “Position” and “Member Support”. 

The BSIF “Position” over time, seeks to articulate and define what sustainability means for the industry, in the context of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the 17 “Sustainable Goals” defined by the United Nations, the UK Government’s 2050 “Net Zero” commitment and the challenges and opportunities presented by “Circularity” in PPE.

In terms of “Member Support” we will develop a framework to deliver guidance and support which will recognise statutory, voluntary and best practice elements. From the outset we will create a “Code of Conduct” which is undoubtedly required to provide governance over environmental claims for product and services. It is our intention that at all times the member and industry support will remain constructive and progressive, recognising that sustainability is a fast evolving subject which has the potential to put ever increasing pressure on businesses.

The “Position” and the fundamentals of “Member Support” have been established through engagement and actions following an in-depth survey of our member companies. The survey took views and opinion on readiness, expectations of assistance and support and an audit of the environmental demands against which the members were being judged by their customer base.

BSIF’s “Position” is being built upon, what we believe to be, 4 industry relevant pillars, comprising current Environment and Statutory requirements, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the role of PPE Technology and the up and downstream Business Impacts. Under the heading of “Statutory and Environment” we will recognise carbon dioxide emissions, energy and water use, waste, packaging and the opportunity and efforts on recyclability and recovery. Within this Statutory Environmental pillar, all of these headings will of course need further drilling into and defining as we progress.

Within the Corporate Social Responsibility pillar there are many challenges, not least because the supply chains for PPE and PPE components are often inter-continental and the task to maintain transparency and control can be substantial. It is our intention that in this category we include impacts on people, direct and indirect, worker conditions, and social values of supply chain partners. 

The pillars of “Environment” and “Corporate Social Responsibility” will be followed by considerations around the positive changes available through developing PPE Technology and finally drivers for sustainability emanating from sound businesses able to deliver continuous improvement, continuity and well-being of workforces and the opportunity to make a contribution to the wider community.

As I said earlier, sustainability is a wide and complex topic and we are determined that the creation of a cohesive and appropriate “position” will make a meaningful and enlightened contribution for the benefit of all.

The success of the project will of course require on-going targeted support and it makes sense to plan the support broadly within the demands emanating from the “Position” pillars previously outlined. 

Member integrity is central to BSIF and early in 20023 we will launch the Code of Conduct” based on members complying with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) Green Claims Guidelines to manage out any “greenwashing” which has the obvious potential of misrepresentation. Abiding by and commitment to the CMA’s Green Claims Code is being embedded into the Federation’s “Rules of Membership”. 

Without doubt “Sustainability” is a multi-layered, complex subject meaning many things to many people. However, through this progressive, strategic initiative and the support that BSIF will provide, the UK market will ultimately have the opportunity to source PPE from suppliers who are not just highly capable and competent in their field, but suppliers who can be seen to be discharging their environmental obligations for the greater good of all.

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Short survey for PPE specifiers 08/03/2023

DOES YOUR work involve specifying PPE and/or safety equipment? If the answer is yes, then the BSIF needs your help.

We would be extremely grateful if you could participate in a short survey about your current product procurement processes.

By completing the survey, you will be helping us to gain a greater insight into the current EHS product procurement landscape. This will enable us to better support those responsible for procuring EHS products to ensure they can always source compliant and fit-for-purpose equipment. 

The survey can be accessed through the link below:

BSIF PPE & Safety Equipment Survey

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Registration now open for Health & Safety Event 2023 08/03/2023

THE HEALTH & Safety Event is set to return bigger and better than ever on 25-27 April 2023 at NEC Birmingham, and visitors are now able to register to attend for free.

The event will unite Health and Occupational Safety professionals, to come together at the UK’s premier health and safety event. Focusing on presenting the latest and innovative products and services across the industry, it will gather over 220+ exhibitors, offering 8000+ visitors the chance to find out what’s new on the market and source new suppliers.

Over the three days, there will be 60+ hours of free CPD accredited content across 5 theatres, as well as live demonstrations and workshops, and exclusive networking opportunities.


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Selling of KN95 face masks leads to jail sentence 08/03/2023

IN JULY 2022 Hull Cleaning Ltd and it’s Director Mr Paul Scott-South pleaded guilty to offences relating to the sale of KN95 masks during the Covid 19 pandemic.

The convictions were secured under the PPE and Consumer Protection legislation. After much delay and debate the case finally went for sentencing on the 24 February 2023.

At the sentencing hearing Mr Scott-South was imprisoned for 9 months, fined £5,000 with £5,000 costs. In sentencing, the judge made it clear how serious he considered the case and the potential risk to users of the companies' "useless" facemasks. 

BSIF had been involved in supporting Trading Standards in this prosecution, providing product testing from an “Approved” laboratory, as well as advice and expert witness statements. We were thanked by East Riding of Yorkshire Trading Standards for our support in bringing this successful prosecution. East Riding of Yorkshire Trading Standards went on to say that they hoped that we could use this case and sentencing to impress on the market, the gravity of non-compliance and the potential for loss of liberty and heavy fines should they be discovered. 

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CEO's desk 17/02/2023

Alan Murray shares an insight into the challenges surrounding the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill.

WITH THE range of fundamental challenges facing the UK currently and the media focussing on headlines with immediate impacts on our society it would only be natural if readers of this column were not familiar with “The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill”, which is currently making its’ way through our parliamentary processes.

Background: Retained EU Law (REUL) is a category of domestic law which was created at the end of the Brexit transition period in order to provide continuity of legislation and regulation, as EU laws ceased to be applicable. Retained EU Laws are made of domestic laws that implemented EU law and certain pieces of direct EU legislation that were cut and pasted and placed onto the UK statute book, following minor amendments to remove and replace some technical references to the EU Commission and EU Member States.

Regardless of one’s opinion on Brexit, it is certainly true that taking the opportunity to review laws, now that we are de-coupled from the EU, is reasonable and could perhaps lead to better rules and better ways of doing things in the future. However, and it is a big however, there are apparently up to 4,000 pieces of legislation within the REUL Bill and currently the requirement is that these laws will be reviewed, reformed or revoked all within 2023 or they will “sunset” at that point. Given the current pressures facing UK PLC, giving priority to this exercise seems bizarre and without any pressing or practical political imperative it is hard to see it as anything other than ideologically driven.

The Retained EU Law Bill spans thousands of legislative areas, including construction, the environment, food safety, occupational health and safety, product safety, including of course Personal Protective Equipment, hazardous substances and chemical safety. The list is enormous, involving many Government Departments and it just does not seem at all possible that this process can be carried out, to any degree, effectively or efficiently within the current timeline. In addition this rushed and chaotic process brings the potential but significant risk that good regulations are replaced by inferior ones. 

These are not just my opinions but widely held concerns across stakeholders in our industry and beyond. And while the Bill is progressing through parliament we call on the Government to listen to common sense. To that end, in November 2022 BSIF joined with the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) where we urged the government to review the Bill timetable and abandon the concept of an arbitrary sunset date all together. 

Adding to the momentum of lobbying on this, at the end of January 2023, BSIF joined with leading stakeholders from the safety, health and environmental arena to communicate directly with Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) who hold responsibility for many of the relevant laws. Of course there has been a reshuffling (of the deck chairs) and BEIS no longer exists, now replaced by the Department for Business and Trade (BaT) with Kemi Badenoch taking over from Grant Shapps who is now in charge of the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. 

The stakeholder group, including RoSPA, IOSH, BOHS, BSC, IIRSM, NEBOSH, CIEH and BSIF are clear in our opinion that this Bill could indeed be an opportunity to improve safety and health legislation but it must be a through a proper consultative process carried out over a reasonable time period.

The group’s position is that Britain has a long standing record as a global leader in Safety and Health but that could be destroyed and people put at risk, due to the undue and unnecessary sunset date. We collectively appreciate the need for continuous improvement and how regular review can indeed build better frameworks and so be a positive move but, better regulation is not simply de-regulation. This rush to implement the Bill as it stands will undermine our health and safety standards and protections many of which were indeed originally led by the UK and later adopted by the EU. We would hope that a more sensible timetable on the Bill emerges but at this stage we cannot assume that will happen and therefore we will continue to make the case for open dialogue and discussion, spread over a reasonable timeframe.

In other (related) news the Department, formerly known as BEIS, have been seeking to publish a “consultation” on the Product Safety Review. This consultation will seek feedback and opinions on policy proposals around regulation controlling the placing of product on the market. The original call for evidence produced consistent feedback on the (avoidance of) responsibilities of on-line selling and a general lack of market surveillance. It is hoped that the consultation process when it is eventually launched will include practical proposals to counter those economic operators who ignore, with impunity, their regulatory responsibilities. We shall see when the consultation is eventually published.

The reason that the consultation is late being published is believed to be as a result of the political instability from mid-2022 until now. The consultation was at the point of ministerial sign-off in July but the minister responsible was moved during the of Boris Johnson’s resignation and there has never been a settled picture at BEIS since then as we see above.

With the political instability and the societal challenges of inflation and the economy it really does call into question the wisdom of prioritising an over hasty review of thousands of pieces of legislation apparently motivated because they “originated” as EU regulations.

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CEO's desk 07/12/2022

Alan Murray provides an update to the latest changes to the UKCA rules.

IT IS a privilege to have the opportunity to write this column in HSM, one that I greatly value. I’m sure you can imagine that when I sit down to put it together my first thoughts are, what information needs to be communicated, what is current and important! It is then a valuable discipline to check back to ensure that I haven’t covered the topic in previous columns.

Well, information that needs to be communicated is most certainly the change to the rules on UKCA marking! Have I communicated on this before yes, indeed I have, many times! The frequency with which changes are announced render the situation chaotic and my sympathies go to all the responsible businesses who have invested to meet the timelines as they had previously been published.

Now, readers will remember that the original guidance required all the changes in PPE to be in force by the end of 2021, but following extensive lobbying this “impossible” deadline was moved out a year until the end of 2022. Our industry worked hard aiming to complete in the due time and more conformity assessment bodies established themselves in the UK to create the required capacity and meet the demand. Quite suddenly in June 2022 the government announced that there would be no further extension to the deadline of December 2022 for UKCA being required but, if a product already had a CE approval then that could be used as the basis for applying the UKCA mark, without any need for manufacturers to use a UK Approved Body. This was something of a seismic shift but, it has to be said, one that would have been common sense if enacted as part of the first announcements in 2020!

With the dust settling on the June ’22 announcements and businesses adjusting to the new conditions, another surprise! On November 14 2022 the government announced that CE approved product (without the need for any UKCA) would still be acceptable for a further 2 years until the end of December 2024. All of these changes, were of course, as ever, described as support for business. Really! Chaos for those involved in the process and confusion for users and indeed for market surveillance authorities. All of these changes genuinely risk the Regulation being significantly undermined, which is in the interests of nobody.

The full Guidance published in November can be accessed and downloaded at from the BSIF websitehttps://www.bsif.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/PPE-Guide-Nov-22.pdf

Of course one mustn’t forget that there is a different, updated, version of the Regulation as it applies in Northern Ireland, see https://www.bsif.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/PPE-Guide-NI-Nov-22.pdf

To quote the old cliché “it is what it is” and all that we can practically do is keep pressing BEIS for clarifications on the Regulation (which are still needed) and keep everyone as up to date as we possibly can, so that the PPE market is informed and wearers kept safe! 

In other news! 

The government announced that all of the EU legislation that the UK retained on our statute books following Brexit, which I note seems a less used word in Whitehall circles these days, with many preferring to use the phrase “post-exit”, will sunset by December 2023. This means that all retained EU law, up to 4,000 pieces of legislation including the PPE Regulation and many pieces of Health Safety and Environment laws, will be reviewed, reformed or removed during the next 12 months. This initiative, the “Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill” came from the then Business Secretary, Jacob Rees-Mogg and is now handled by Grant Shapps, Secretary of State at BEIS and the puzzlingly named “Brexit Opportunities Unit”. 
This undertaking is massive and fraught with problems, but I am told that the current Secretary of State thinks a more “sane” timetable should be put in place. We will see, but I can assure you that we, and other interested groups will work to protect good laws and standards where they exist across our sector.

Let’s see what 2023 brings.

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

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Product safety to come under the spotlight in 2023 07/12/2022

IN 2023 we expect to see a greater focus on product safety, including increased scrutiny on the safety and compliance of goods sold by third-party sellers on online marketplaces. BSIF CEO Alan Murray explains more.

The UK has always had a reputation for stringent product safety standards but with constant innovation and the rise of e-commerce many markets have become increasingly hard to regulate. 

PPE is a case in point. The COVID pandemic highlighted how quickly substandard and potentially dangerous products can find their way onto the market with reports suggesting billions of pounds of public money were ultimately wasted on unusable PPE. 

Unfortunately substandard PPE isn’t just a COVID problem. Unacceptable products have been finding their way on to UK marketplaces prior to COVID and continue to do so today. 

This is illustrated by the BSIF’s latest analysis. As well as auditing the BSIF membership annually to verify their compliance and competence, we test a selection of PPE from non-BSIF members. Between December 2021 and December 2022, a total of 118 non-member products were tested. Only 15 (13%) of these products passed the audit, with the results for five of the products still pending. This means 98 products (83%) failed to meet the audit criteria, many of which are still available and being sold to unsuspecting users. 

These findings are in contrast with products supplied by Registered Safety Suppliers who are committed to only selling certified PPE and trading honestly and ethically

What’s changing?

2023 will see the introduction of a new post-EU Product Safety Framework which will help to strengthen the rules around the sale of products including PPE. Timings for publication of the framework are still to be confirmed, but there will be a strong focus on improving the safety and compliance of goods sold by third-party sellers on online marketplaces. We expect to see stricter responsibilities for online vendors and harsher penalties for those who fail to comply.

At the same time, the Environmental, Social & Corporate Governance (ESG) agenda is having a growing impact. Companies looking to strengthen their ESG performance are closely scrutinising the credentials of their suppliers and choosing only to work with responsible companies. When it comes to buying PPE and Safety Equipment, many buyers now realise that specifying the BSIF’s Registered Safety Supplier Scheme is the easiest way to ensure they are only dealing with suppliers who are compliant, competent and trustworthy. 

It’s therefore no surprise that we saw a significant number of public and private sector organisation mandate the Registered Safety supplier Scheme for their supply chains in 2022. As the focus on products safety sharpens in 2023 we expect that number to increase. 

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