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BSIF responds to Poundworld judgement

25 November 2015

The BSIF has questioned whether discount retailers should be selling PPE in the first place after Poundworld was fined £63,000 for selling non reflective hi-vis vests.

As reported by The Daily Mail Online on 22nd November, Poundworld has been fined over £63,000 after it sold non reflective hi-vis vests , with the logo ‘be safe, be seen’. The discount retailer sold 95,700 of the £1 vests, but tests carried out by trading standards revealed that the reflective performance was no more than 2.4 per cent of what it should have been.

At St Albans Crown Court on Friday 20th November, prosecutor Andrew Johnson said that Joe Tyler, from Hertfordshire Trading Standards, made a test purchase from Poundworld on Watford High Street in March 2014. He said: 'Whilst the produce purported to be a high visibility safety vest, it was in fact no such thing. It was little more than an item of clothing. Neither the fluorescent yellow background material or the retro-reflective strips were of a standard anywhere near that which was necessary to ensure the visibility of the user.”

In a written response to Trading Standards’ questions, Poundworld said the vest tested was from a batch of 7,200 but over a period beginning in January 2010 it had imported and sold 95,700. The company, appeared for sentence on Friday, having pleaded guilty to two offences of engaging in misleading commercial practice at an earlier hearing.

In response to the judgement, Alan Murray, CEO of the BSIF stated “It is extremely disappointing that such a well known retailer would be selling product that was misleading and could put lives at risk.” He further questioned whether discount retailers should be selling regulated Personal Protective Equipment in the first place. “Consumers seeking to buy safety equipment should go to outlets that have expertise and experience in these products. The BSIF is committed to ensuring that PPE such as hi-vis vests on sale in the UK meet relevant European safety standards and provide the level of protection that they claim. To help combat the sale of substandard PPE, we have created the Registered Safety Supplier (RSS) scheme. Companies displaying the scheme's logo have signed a binding declaration that the safety equipment they offer meets the appropriate standards, fully complies with the PPE regulations and is appropriately CE marked. All Registered Safety Suppliers are independently audited to confirm compliance with the scheme's requirements."

A full list of registered companies is available from