An influx of substandard and fake personal protective equipment (PPE) to the UK is putting lives at risk, the TUC has warned. The union body says the problem sometimes arises when firms purchase PPE made for use outside Europe, where standards are lower. But it says some workers are also being put at risk as a result of counterfeiting, with cut-price products available online attracting employers looking to reduce costs. TUC's new guide for union safety reps warns: 'Counterfeit PPE is on the increase, with well-established product brands or designs being the primary target. In some sectors over half the products tested were counterfeit. Although the biggest problems are in construction and transport, any industry can be affected.' The guide notes that safety reps 'can help prevent problems with PPE by ensuring that their employer consults with them over the type of PPE they buy. They can also check that any PPE that is provided is legal.' A checklist advises reps to ensure PPE is purchased from a reputable supplier and displays the logo of the Registered Safety Supplier (RSS) scheme. It also provides other pointers on correct labelling and safety marks. According to the TUC: 'The implications of fake PPE can be devastating, as if it fails, the worker may be killed or injured. In addition unsuitable hand, ear and breathing protection can have long term health effects.'
Briefing document (300 words) issued 27 Jul 2012
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace/tuc-21279-f0.cfm
printed 20 May 2013 at 19:21 hrs by 18.104.22.168