The acronym ‘PPE’ has never been more widely heard than in the last few months. As the UK workforce makes its way out of lockdown, following the devastation of the Coronavirus pandemic, it has become vital for businesses to ensure the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is in place to keep staff safe and prevent the virus from affecting more lives.
With the heightened need for PPE has come an influx of ‘pop-up’ suppliers, companies that have appeared from nowhere in the last 12 weeks to cash-in on this market. This has created a dangerous situation, which has led to confusion at best and risk to life at worst.
When it comes to sourcing PPE it is vital to know that you are working with an established supplier of PPE, one that is knowledgeable about and adheres to the correct safety standards, rather than those who have simply jumped on the latest bandwagon and could be providing sub-standard PPE with the sole aim being to profit from a terrible situation.
Check if your supplier is BSiF assured
One of the easiest and most reassuring steps you can take to ensure you are sourcing PPE from a credible supplier is to check that they are BSiF accredited. Working with a supplier that is accredited to the British Safety Industry Federation is your guarantee that all of the products they sell are effective for the purpose intended and meet certain standards.
The BSIF created the Registered Safety Supplier Scheme (RSSS) to support the UK safety market. Companies displaying the scheme’s logo have signed a binding declaration that the safety equipment and services they offer meet the appropriate standards, fully complies with PPE regulations and is correctly CE marked.
The scheme provides assurance to users that registered suppliers are credible and audited to supply compliant and correctly performing products through a capable, educated, competent supply chain.
While checking their BSiF accreditation is the first step, there are other steps you can take to avoid buying fake PPE and give you peace of mind that you and your staff are safely protected against Covid19, as well as other hazards.
Your PPE supplier checklist
The first thing you need to establish is if the supplier normally sells PPE as part of their main business. It might sound obvious, but there are many companies who don’t usually sell PPE adding to their service and product portfolios just to make money out of the current crisis.
The first identifier of this could be the company name, which should give you a good indicator of what their main business is and the fact that they don’t usually supply PPE. It doesn’t automatically mean the PPE they are selling will be fake or sub-standard, but it is definitely something to be aware of when considering them as a PPE supplier.
When you have checked the company name out, take a look and see if they have a website. The lack of one or if its main focus is not PPE but, say, IT solutions, could be another giveaway that PPE is not their primary business.
The next thing to do is take a look for the company on LinkedIn. Their LinkedIn profile should tell you how long they have been trading. If the company has been created in the last 12 weeks and is suddenly selling PPE, then this could be another identifier.
The final step is pick up the phone and talk to them. Do they know what they are talking about and can they reassure you that the PPE they are selling is fit-for-purpose and compliant with all regulations?
Always check for certification
Once you’ve established that they are a bona fide company, ask for the examination certificate, ensuring that the model number of the product you are purchasing appears on the certificate. They should also have a corresponding declaration of conformity.
If they can’t provide the information you need on email, before a sale is agreed, then walk away. Any decent PPE supplier will gladly supply this information without any resistance.
Choose an established, reputable PPE supplier
Equipping all staff, permanent, temporary and contractors, with the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is key to creating and maintaining a safe workplace. Contego Safety Solutions stocks a vast range of protective clothing, PPE and corporate wear, including our own WEARMASTER® range. The friendly and expert team at Contego Safety Solutions is always on hand to give advice and guidance on the right PPE and protective clothing for your needs. Contact us now on 0800 122 3323 or email@example.com to discuss your requirements.
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