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British Safety Industry Federation

Buying PPE? Look for a Registered Safety Supplier 27/06/2018

Frank Angear, general manager for the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF), discusses the benefits of its Registered Safety Supplier scheme

The British Safety Industry Federation (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, (shown here).

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

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Fracking clean-up concerns 17/10/2017

The British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) general manager Frank Angear looks at the challenges of controlling site spills when it comes to shale gas extraction

At the moment UK energy supplies are provided by natural gas (40%), coal (10%), nuclear power (25%), biomass (12%) and renewables (12%). With climate change targets, the closure of coal mines, concerns surrounding nuclear power and the high cost of renewables, Britain needs additional diverse sources of energy.

Enormous effort is going into new technology such as clean gas power stations, thermo-voltaic light, new battery developments and seismic surveying, which will alter the relative attractions of nuclear, gas, and renewable sources, but predicting which technology will meet the increased demand at a sensible cost with acceptable carbon emissions is difficult. 

One option under consideration is the extraction of shale gas through a process known as "fracking". It is argued that the cost of British shale gas would be low because it is believed that there are large volumes, it is relatively easy to extract and the cost of distribution is low as the gas infrastructure is already in place. 

But a new industry would bring its own set of requirements on pollution control to avoid environmental spills. All energy sources, gas, coal, nuclear, biomass, and renewables carry environmental risks. Environmental concerns around shale gas focus on:

  • Contamination of ground water.
  • Although carbon emissions are lower, they may still not reach required levels.
  • Heavy traffic in locations close to residential areas.
  • Earthquake risk.

However, a major concern is the heavy goods vehicle transportation of the large volumes of flowback water created. The BSIF Liquid Pollution Control Group -  which makes recommendations for tackling spills control when extracting shale gas - agrees with leading shale gas companies that the water should be processed on site.

Contamination of groundwater is of course a risk, but a peer reviewed study of contamination of groundwater by Duke University (The Effects of Shale Gas Exploration and Hydraulic Fracturing on the Quality of Water Resources in the United States by Avner Vengosh et al) found fracking has not contaminated ground water. However the study did find that accidental spills of fracking waste water could be dangerous to surface water in the area.

If extraction of shale gas is given the go-ahead in Britain, the BSIF Liquid Pollution Control Group makes the following recommendations:

  • Flowback water from fracking should be treated on or near site to minimise vehicle movements and the associated disruption.
  • Secondary spill containment (bunding of plant and machinery) as well as tertiary containment (membrane under the whole site) should be deployed on all drilling, fracking and production sites.
  • Spill awareness and response training should be provided by accredited organisations to all site operators.

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“Anyone can sell Safety but you wouldn’t buy Safety from anyone”. 22/05/2017

The British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) is dedicated to eliminating non-compliant, unsafe, counterfeit and illegal safety products from the UK market. BSIF CEO Alan Murray explains how its Registered Safety Supplier Scheme provides a quality assurance scheme for the purchase of genuine personal protective equipment (PPE) that will help to keep people safe and healthy at work

If the outcome of an employer’s risk assessment includes the necessity for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) it is the law that it must provide adequate protection against the hazard and it must be suitable for the individual.

The Registered Safety Supplier Scheme, administered by the BSIF, historically focused on the threat posed by fake and counterfeit products and fake and counterfeit certification. However, in addition to this problem, a much more pernicious threat has become apparent over the last 18 months and that is the failure of PPE to match the performance that the CE certification claims and crucially the performance that users anticipate.

We have seen increasing evidence that PPE products in the market fail to perform. Many products in Category I such as leather gloves contain Chromium VI and Azo dyes and therefore fail the CE Basic Requirements of Safety and Health where the PPE itself actually contains a threat to the user. This has been the subject of a National Trading Standards investigation this year.

Perhaps the most startling examples come in Category II (which include safety footwear, safety helmets and high visibility clothing) where the performance claims from the original, one time, type testing are just not being achieved. It has therefore become absolutely necessary to strengthen the terms of the Registered Safety Supplier Scheme to address this. 

The number of non-compliant, illegal and poorly performing safety products offered for sale in the UK market is significant and all organisations and individuals sourcing PPE and related equipment need assurance that the markings, documentation and claims for the performance of the product are still valid.

The BSIF Registered Safety Supplier Scheme is being strengthened to provide assurance to PPE customers and users that only compliant and correctly performing products are supplied.

A Registered Safety Supplier Scheme member…

  • Formally declares and commits to selling only Certified PPE that performs to claims made
  • Submits their product to random independent scheme testing by an accredited laboratory
  • Commits to having their customer facing staff educated and accredited in the Safe Supply Course
  • Maintain a company Quality Policy
  • As a Federation member trade honestly and ethically

 Who benefits …

  • The purchasers and end users of PPE – with product that performs – sourced from capable suppliers
  • Registered Safety Supplier Scheme members – as they become the suppliers of choice in the market 
  • The market becomes a level playing field as unscrupulous suppliers are de-selected and unfair competition is removed 

Is your supplier a Registered Safety Supplier Scheme member?

Look for the logo. A full listing of Registered Safety Suppliers can be found on www.bsif.co.uk/registered-safety-supplier

Anyone can sell Safety but you wouldn’t buy Safety from anyone. Insist on a Registered Safety Supplier for your Personal Protective Equipment.

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