Counterfeit PPEs Are Flooding The Market
Despite the best efforts of the market policing authorities and at the BSIF, there are still illegal items of PPE being placed on the market.
Counterfeit PPE and in particular, counterfeit supporting documentation are notably on the increase. Well-known brands and notified bodies (authorised test houses) are being targeted and there are products being offered that make claims of compliance to BS, EN & ISO standards and offer dubious proof that this is the case.
Often these products do not perform as they should, endangering lives and exposing organisations to the risk of prosecution.
In addition to the work the BSIF have done through the Registered Safety Supplier Scheme – helping to signpost PPE users to reliable suppliers who are independently audited by the BSIF – we have established links with Government to highlight fake and incorrect supporting documentation and have these removed.
Health and Safety Executive: Safety alert!
A substantial number of face masks, claiming to be of KN95 standards, provide an inadequate level of protection and are likely to be poor quality products accompanied by fake or fraudulent paperwork. These face masks may also be known as filtering facepiece respirators.
KN95 is a performance rating under the Chinese standard GB2626:2006, the requirements of which are broadly the same as the European standard BSEN149:2001+A1:2009 for FFP2 facemasks.
However, there is no independent certification or assurance of their quality and products manufactured to KN95 rating are declared as compliant by the manufacturer.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) cannot be sold or supplied as PPE unless it is CE marked.
The only exception is for PPE that is organised by the UK Government for use by NHS or other healthcare workers where assessments have been undertaken by HSE as the Market Surveillance Authority
KN95 must not be used as PPE at work as their effectiveness cannot be assured.
Masks that are not CE marked and cannot be shown to be compliant must be removed from supply immediately. If these masks have not been through the necessary safety assessments, their effectiveness in controlling risks to health cannot be assured for anyone buying or using them. They are unlikely to provide the protection expected or required.
If any are CE marked, suppliers must be able to demonstrate how they know the documentation and CE marking is genuine, supported by Notified Body documentation showing compliance with the essential health and safety requirements as required by the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations (EU) 2016/425.
How easy is it to spot a counterfeit, illegal or incorrect CE certificate?
You can – and probably should – request to see the CE Certificate relating to any PPE, and whilst it is not a legal requirement for suppliers to provide this many will be happy to show that their products comply and have been certified.
They MUST provide the Declaration of Conformity in any case. The Declaration of Conformity is another piece of supporting documentation that has seen a substantial increase in dubious/counterfeit content finding its way onto the market.
All PPE must be supplied with instructions for use and be appropriately tested and marked with a CE marking, it must also be supplied with a Declaration of Conformity or a link to a website where a Declaration of Conformity can be downloaded. Without these, the product is illegal to use as protective equipment in the workplace.
This guide offers advice on how to check if the supporting documentation for your PPE is genuine and what to do if you are concerned.
Download Counterfeit PPE Checklist