The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has warned the industry to be vigilant when sourcing personal protective equipment (PPE) as there remains a large amount of counterfeit product on the market.
Although there are strict regulations covering the PPE and RPE (respiratory equipment) sector, the UK has still been targeted with some sub-standard products that do not comply with European regulations.
Speaking during a BESA webinar, Paul Manning from the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) said that a large number of new suppliers had appeared during the Covid-19 crisis.
“This is a highly regulated sector, but there are now a lot of people selling this equipment who don’t have experience and who may be ignorant of the regulations,” he said. “The best advice is to use a supplier who has been in the market for some time and thoroughly check the certification that comes with the equipment.”
BESA’s health and safety adviser Rebecca Crosland said it was also important to have respiratory equipment properly fitted and advised companies to only use accredited Fit2Fit testers.
Crosland also urged companies to register as a supporter of the BSIF Registered Safety Supplier scheme at https://www.registeredsafetysupplierscheme.co.uk/supporters/
“All of the registered safety suppliers are independently audited to confirm compliance with the scheme’s requirements,” she said. “By being a supporter and only using a registered safety supplier, firms can be sure they will only be supplied with genuine, appropriately approved product and will get sound advice without any attempt to mislead,” added Crosland.
She also reminded listeners to the webinar that the two-metre social distancing restriction was still in place.
“Some people seem to think the two metre restriction has been reduced to one metre – it has not. Infection risk is between and two and 10 times higher at one metre. If it is impossible to remain two metres apart, you should apply other controls like reducing the duration of time you spend together or avoiding face-to-face contact.”
The BESA Covid-19 panel has produced a new suite of guidance documents specifically for engineering and building services contractors working on construction sites and in domestic settings.
BESA says the documents "have been thoroughly researched, taking into account current government guidance, and providing clear, concise and easy to use information".
BESA panel member Rosie Newcombe who is health and safety manager at Royston Group said: “These documents have been created to help everyone working in the building and engineering services industry – not just our engineers."
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