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Accessing suitable safety equipment

29 November 2010

It is thought British industry spends in excess of £1 billion a year on personal protective equipment (PPE) yet poor selection and misuse means that much of this investment is wasted. As the safety industry’s leading trade body, the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) is aware of issues regarding the difficulties in accessing suitable safety equipment and would like to ensure manufacturers and distributors are offering appropriate advice.

Accessing suitable safety equipment
Accessing suitable safety equipment

The provision of appropriate safety and personal protective equipment (PPE) has increasingly become a top priority however, there is sometimes an issue with selection, especially within smaller organisations where there may be a lack of specific knowledge. The BSIF would like to encourage manufacturers and distributors to engage with everyone at all levels of responsibility to ensure that they can access clear and easy to understand information. They would also like to encourage potential purchasers to seek the correct advice and information before purchasing safety equipment. By working with a Registered Safety Supplier, which can be easily identified through the BSIF scheme shield, purchasers can be assured that they are using a reputable supplier who is committed to issuing genuine and suitable products and offering trustworthy advice.

However it must be accepted that non specialist retailers play a big part in the safety supply chain as it is thought that almost a quarter of customers using high street DIY outlets are doing so to purchase equipment for use at work. This can be an issue for the wide range of PPE and safety products on offer including coveralls, safety gloves and hearing protection.

Although the worker may know what type of product they need e.g. a respirator for crop spraying, they may not be sure of the exact product specification required and although the product may contain the relevant industry information, this may not be easily understood.
It is essential for manufacturers and distributors to be aware of the different sales outlets their products are destined for to ensure better point of sale materials are produced alongside easy to understand user material providing clear guidance without commonly used jargon. The BSIF sees it as part of its role to educate its members to ensure that this clear and accurate information is passed to the marketplace through their customers and retailers and ultimately onto the end user.

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