Home>Trade Body>BSiF>From the CEO's desk: Selling or marketing PPE under the Regulation (EU) 2016/425?

From the CEO's desk: Selling or marketing PPE under the Regulation (EU) 2016/425?

24 May 2018

The British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) has been supporting its membership over the last years as we moved towards the new PPE Regulation and as we move away from the Directive under which the market has worked for more than a quarter of a century. Despite all the consultations and forum discussions there still appears to be many examples where economic operators in the market are less than clear as to their responsibilities and obligations.

A particular issue under live debate currently is the status within the Regulation of products placed on the market against products being made available. Within the Regulation there is clear definition but only when there are clear differences in roles between Manufacturers, Importers and Distributors. We know that in the PPE market many businesses can fulfil all 3 of these roles when marketing an item of PPE. BSIF has submitted a specific question on this and other issues for guidance from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). We will advise the membership when we have answers.

The new regulation is now “applicable” as of 21st April 2018. The original Directive has now been repealed, though product can still be placed on the market under the Directive until April 2019. One of the more interesting changes in the Regulation centre around the additional detailed obligations and responsibilities that have been placed on economic operators, such as importers and distributors who are involved in the PPE supply chain. 

Some though not all of the additional obligations on importers are:

To only place compliant PPE on the market. To ensure the PPE has the technical documentation available, the conformity assessment has been carried out, the correct markings are available and the PPE is accompanied with the required documents. To indicate, on the PPE their product ID and postal address where they can be contacted. To ensure transport and storage do not jeopardize the PPE’s conformity.

Some though not all of the additional obligations on distributors are:

They must act with due care. To verify that the PPE bears the correct markings and is accompanied by the required documents in a language that can be easily understood by the consumers.

To not make PPE available in the market if the PPE is considered not to meet the essential health & safety requirements. To ensure transport and storage do not jeopardize the PPE’s conformity.

BSIF has developed a comprehensive “Compliance Protocol” by which members can demonstrate how they comply with these responsibilities. The Compliance Protocol has been publicly supported by Trading Standards. 

If you are selling or marketing PPE there has never been a greater need to be part of BSIF.

On the other hand if you are buying or specifying PPE there has never been more reason to demand it from a BSIF Registered Safety Supplier!

The BSIF is the trade association for all organisations involved in the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and safety related products and services. From this position, the Federation believes strongly that occupational users have a right to expect their safety equipment to be of good quality, to protect them adequately, and to be fully compliant with all relevant regulations and requirements.

Furthermore, the BSIF believes passionately that all users, specifiers and purchasers of such equipment deserve to be serviced and supported by capable, knowledgeable and responsible suppliers.

All member businesses of the BSIF involved in the supply of PPE and related safety equipment are required to sign up and adhere to the requirements of the Registered Safety Supplier Scheme which places a number of obligations on the organisation. They are required to:

  • Make a formal and binding commitment that all PPE and related products supplied will comply with the requirements of the applicable regulations.
  • Maintain a quality management system and embed within it an Industry Code of Practice statement.
  • Have the capability to manage a product recall process and take other corrective actions in compliance with British Standard’s PAS 7100:2018 or equivalent.
  • Submit to the audit of one product per year randomly selected from their offering. For PPE this will include testing of the product to one or more clauses from any EN product performance standard to which certification is claimed. For safety equipment outside of mainstream PPE and not regulated by publicly available standards, it will include an audit of their quality policy and all relevant regulatory documentation.
  • Commit to educate and accredit customer facing staff to the Ofqual Level 2 BSIF Safe Supply Course and Qualification or other appropriate qualifications.
  • For Importers and Distributors, demonstrate that they comply with the “Obligations and Responsibilities” required under the PPE Regulation (EU) 2016/425 by maintaining the appropriate BSIF Compliance Protocol or equivalent for each product.

This provides a significant layer of confidence for users and a differentiator for suppliers from competitors who do not make such commitments. When sourcing PPE and related occupational safety equipment buyers can look for the Registered Safety Supplier Scheme logo.

End user companies can register as supporters of the scheme on the dedicated supporter’s website: www.registeredsafetysupplierscheme.co.uk

When registering here supporters can find additional resources and news of networking events. Their company logo will be displayed, along with their commitment to always seek to source their PPE and related safety equipment needs from a BSIF Registered Safety Supplier.

Alan Murray

BSIF chief executive