Standing up for Safety: Avoiding Rogue Products
Unfortunately, since the pandemic commenced in 2020, there have been increasing instances of fraudulent Personal Protective Equipment being sold, globally. The urgent demand for additional volumes of items including hand protection has resulted in opportunistic manufacturers creating fake products to capitalise upon the global shortages and increased demand.
The influx of ‘pop-up’ suppliers is inevitable wherever there is high market demand, or when manufacturers are struggling to accommodate increased volumes of sales and ordering. This can be harmful on a number of levels – it undermines the brands which are being cloned or faked, and it leaves workers vulnerable to hazardous working environments, with PPE which may not be fit for purpose. It can reduce the morale of your team, by indicating that you are not prepared to invest in their safety and operate as a credible source of protective equipment.
As a result, it’s more important than ever before that the PPE you choose for your team is sourced from a reputable provider, and you check to ensure that the testing and standards which the product has been through are genuine, and not faked to dupe consumers.
Here’s how to ensure that the safety protection you buy is genuine, durable, and fit for purpose when you choose your ideal products:
Check your suppliers’ accreditation’s
One of the most reliable ways of checking if your purchases are genuine and manufactured to a high standard, is to verify that your suppliers are accredited to the British Safety Industry Federation (BSiF). By being BSiF assured, your suppliers are evidencing that they are credible, genuine and audited product providers. In gaining BSiF accreditation, suppliers are required to undergo stringent vetting, to confirm that their products comply with all relevant legislation governing the safety sector.
The BSiF maintain a Registered Safety Supplier Scheme (RSSS), which is designed to safeguard the safety sector in the UK. Those organisations who display the scheme logo are required to sign a declaration that their equipment and/or services meet all pertinent standards, have a valid CE mark, and are compliant with industry regulations for safety.
Check the standing and background of potential suppliers
A critical way of identifying unscrupulous suppliers who are seeking to capitalise upon market demand and product shortages, is to examine their historical activity. If a potential supplier has only recently branched out into the safety sector, the likelihood is that their intentions are simply to make cash, rather than keep your team safe. For example, a firm who normally operates in a completely different industry sector, or manufacturers products for the same, is unlikely to select a strategic business venture which is unrelated to their existing operations.
By sticking to providers who have experience in the safety sector, as SMI have, you gain peace of mind that you are not awarding business to an unscrupulous or opportunistic seller. Do a quick check on the company name, and verify that they have experience. While new start-ups in response to market demand are obviously not all crooks, it can be a good litmus test if you have reservations about purchasing from a particular vendor or manufacturer. Check their online footprint, such as their web site or social media profile, and do a little detective work to set your mind at ease before making purchases.
Whenever you purchase PPE products, check that they have all of the correct certification in place. Cross-check the model number on the product with the certificate to make sure that they tally. It’s also important to scrutinise the Declaration of Conformity for the product, which verifies that it has passed the relevant regulatory standards before being made available for sale.
All reputable suppliers will readily provide you with the right certification upon request, or house the Declaration of Conformity and other paperwork on their company order portal, so it is available without you having to request it. 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.
Rokwear is a Registered Safety Supplier, meaning we have signed a binding declaration that the safety equipment we offer meets the appropriate standards, fully complies with the PPE regulations and is appropriately CE marked.