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Focus on fit testing 02/02/2019

When specifying Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) which includes Respiratory Protective Devices (RPD) it is important to consider the role of Fit2Fit and the needs of the user in addition to the performance characteristics of the RPE says the BSIF.

The importance of protecting workers from hazardous dust and fumes is not a new topic of debate. For some 2,000 years, the potential dangers have been recognised.

Fast forward to the present day and the issue remains a hot topic for debate and a key area of international safety legislation. So much so that 2018 saw the introduction of the ISO 16975-3:2017 – a new standard specifically designed to provide guidance on how to conduct a fit testing of tight-fitting Respiratory Protective Devices (RPS).

Designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the seal between the wearer’s face and the respiratory interface specific requirements for conducting RPD fit testing outlined in the new standard include:

  • Qualifications/competencies of fit test operators
  • Specific fit testing procedures
  • Interpretation of fit test results
  • Record Keeping

We need to drive mindsets away from pure respirator performance to the relationship between respirator and each individual user. In the past a lot of disposable respirators were introduced to the market to purely meet the EN 149:2001+A1:2009 standard, without necessarily considering the individuality of the user, how it fitted them and how it was used.

If someone fits a particular disposable FFP3 mask – that would then apply to any FFP3 mask product – These are assumptions that are being made – WRONG! It is important to reinforce the message that if a respirator model is changed then the wearer needs to undergo a new fit test.

Where a tight-fitting face mask is required, a fit test on that mask and the person wearing it needs to be carried out. This is a legal requirement detailed in the CoSHH regulations. 

Some people still don’t understand whether fit testing is a requirement for them or don’t know enough about it to make an effective judgement. Fit testing is also seen by some as time consuming, expensive or not applicable to them e.g.: ‘I only wear a mask once a week, so its OTT and not needed’.

Regardless of how often a mask is used – if its being used as an item of PPE it needs proper fit testing. Its also recommendable that regular fit testing is undertaken – ideally at least once every two years.

Recent research indicates that up to 50% of all RPE used does not offer the wearer the level of protection assumed and one of the major reasons is that it simply does not fit! Yet, under the regulations RPE must be correctly selected and this includes, for many types of RPE, a face piece Fit Test conducted by a competent person. So how can you be sure the person conducting the fit test is competent?

Despite not being qualified to do so, some people think they are competent enough to fit test. RPE fit testing should be conducted by a competent person, anyone carrying out the fit test must be appropriately trained, qualified and experienced.

In view of these major concerns the British Safety Industry Federation, along with the HSE and other industry stakeholders have developed a competency scheme for Fit Test Providers. The Fit2Fit RPE Fit Test Providers Accreditation Scheme is designed to confirm the competency of any person performing face piece fit testing.

What makes a Fit2Fit accredited tester competent? They have passed an industry recognised exam and therefore demonstrated they have a thorough knowledge of the HSE guidance on fit testing and can demonstrate they have the know how to fit test in practical circumstances.

If you or your employees require a fit test, then by using a Fit2Fit accredited tester you will be doing enough to demonstrate best practice and making sure the user of RPE is properly protected and has an effective seal on their mask.

A list of accredited, competent fit testers can be found by going to www.fit2fit.org and clicking on the ‘Find a tester’ tab. Why take the risk of using a non-accredited tester when it’s so easy to source a fit test from a competent Fit2Fit tester?

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Benefits of a Registered Safety Supplier 17/07/2018

The British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) is the trade association for 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, which is the shield shown here.

Ofqual level 2 Safe Supply course

Furthermore, member companies commit to their customer facing staff working towards attainment of the Ofqual level 2 Safe Supply course, a publically recognised qualification which adds to the professional development of the individual and to the capability of the organisation. The course comprises four modules which cover the legal aspects of supplying PPE, CE marking and certification of products, the ‘policing’ of PPE by market surveillance authorities, and user management of safety.

This is another significant differentiator for the member company from competitors who do not demonstrate such a level of commitment. Qualified staff provide a responsible source of supply of PPE based on knowledge, capability and a clearer understanding of the needs of their customers.

End user companies can join the growing number of exponents of the scheme by registering as supporters on the dedicated supporter’s website: www.registeredsafetysupplierscheme.co.uk

When registering here supporters can find additional resources and news of networking events. Their company logo will be displayed, along with their commitment to always seek to source their PPE and related safety equipment needs from a BSIF Registered Safety Supplier.

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BSIF supporting Maintec 2018 20/06/2018

The British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) has announced its support for Maintec, an exhibition dedicated to maintenance, plant and asset management, which will be held at the NEC, Birmingham on 6th and 7th November 2018. 

The BSIF, which provides support and guidance on a wide range of occupational safety issues, will be attending Maintec 2018 in recognition of safety being an increasingly important addition to the maintenance engineer's job responsibility. 

The show has a proven track record of attracting visitors from across multiple industries including energy, manufacturing, automotive, hazardous environments, aerospace, utilities, oil and gas, food and drink, rail, ports and marine – all of which require the highest standards of safety training and equipment on a daily basis. 

Following the announcement of Bosch Rexroth’s event sponsorship last month, the new partnership is just one of the enhancements the event organisers are making to this year’s Maintec.
Tim Else, director at Western Business Exhibitions, confirms: “It vital that Maintec remains a platform for the maintenance, reliability and asset management communities to meet, learn and do business.

“Following feedback from our audience, we have made some important changes to the format of the event this year. One of our commitments to the Maintec visitor audience is to increase the range of manufacturers and suppliers that they can meet during the event. We are pleased to be able to host the BSIF and their members on our showfloor and extend the existing ongoing partnership between the BSIF and Western Business Exhibitions.”

This is the second edition of Maintec since its acquisition by Western Business Exhibitions; in 2017, WBE delivered the most successful event in the shows’ recent history, delivering a 62% increase in visitor numbers and attendance of engineering teams from 15 of the UK’s top 20 manufacturing sites.

Limited spaces now remain for Maintec 2018. For exhibiting options and availability contact Jos Diamond, event manager, jdiamond@western-be.co.uk and 07818 574303. 

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Workshop on smart PPE 20/07/2017

The CEN-CENELEC sector forum PPE has organised a workshop on smart PPE which will take place on Thursday 7th of September.

The purpose of the workshop is to bring together people from different types of companies to discuss practical issues experienced and how standards should deal with these.

All participants get the opportunity to give a short presentation on what they are doing in terms of smart PPE and there will be the chance for discussions in small groups.

The workshop takes place at the CEN-CENELEC meeting centre in Brussels. It is free of charge, but registration is necessary.

All practical information (including registration) is available on https://www.cencenelec.eu/News/Events/Pages/EV-2017-028.aspx

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PPE: Training for customer-facing staff 30/03/2017

The quality of training available for health and safety professionals is a significant contributor to the UK being regarded as one of the safest of all countries in the developed world, says Ian Crellin, marketing manager, British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF). Here he outlines the organisation's recently-launched Safe Supply Accreditation training course

Providing a safe working environment requires the application of theoretical safety skills and the application of leadership and the understanding of behaviours. The safety professional will always apply proportionate risk assessment and recognise the hierarchy of controls that are required as a start point in the elimination of hazards which have the potential to cause harm to the individual. Within the hierarch of controls the final control listed is that of providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). PPE is often regarded as the last line of defence but, utilising PPE as a control is often the most practical and proportionate method of keeping workers safe.

PPE is a highly regulated product stream whose design, manufacture and performance standards are controlled by European legislation adopted into UK law. However, up until now there have not been any publicly accredited PPE training courses, available for commercial operators in PPE in the UK.

Safe Supply Accreditation programme

Anyone can sell safety products but the BSIF believe that you should not buy safety from just anyone. The capability of the supply chain is vitally important for users to get the appropriate support and the BSIF has launched the Safe Supply Accreditation training course and award to ensure that users are able to rely on good product advice from their suppliers.

The objective of Safe Supply Accreditation programme is to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) market knowledge and learning input for customer facing individuals operational in the UK Safety & Health Industry. The course content is designed to impart information and develop confidence in the principles associated with the legal essentials of the market and the fundamentals of managing safety (their clients) how Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is approved for use in occupational safety and how the market is regulated by the enforcing authorities.

The course will help enhance the capability and develop the expertise of individuals within the supply side of the safety and health market, contributing to the improvement of Occupational Safety and Health in the UK.

They will understand and appreciate 'what makes PPE different', a regulated industry with product design and manufacture, highly regulated to support user safety and facilitate a single market within the European Union.

The first module covers the Legal Essentials of operating in this market. Candidates will learn the relevant elements of the legislation understanding how they can better support their clients within the limits of the law.

The second module of the course is on Managing Safety. Managing Safety is what their clients must do effectively and efficiently every day. This module will help commercial operators understand more clearly the challenges that users face in carrying out their responsibilities.

The third module covers CE Marking and the Product Approval through which the candidates will appreciate that product design and manufacturing is controlled by the PPE Directive/Regulation and they will learn the structure of the CE marking process and the institutions involved including, but not restricted to the role of the Notified Body. They will then be able to assist clients in identifying appropriately marked PPE products to support their safety and health programmes.

The final module of the Safe Supply Accreditation programme covers Market Surveillance and through this the candidate will know who is responsible for policing the market in both product safety and safety policy. They will learn who to go to when there is a question over the ‘fit for purpose’ status of PPE and they will understand and appreciate why market surveillance of PPE is so important and its role in occupational health.

The Safe Supply Accreditation Award will be a publicly recognised Ofqual controlled qualification for PPE commercial operators. 

Training customer facing staff in this way is one of the terms of the BSIF’s Registered Safety Supplier Scheme, an assurance to the market that their PPE is provided by a reliable, capable supplier. 

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Respiratory disease: Greater focus needed 30/11/2016

Following a recent investigation conducted by the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) that showed just four UK local authorities are committing to spend money in order to tackle work-related respiratory diseases, the Federation launched a new report encouraging participation

The BSIF is committed to changing the current mind-set towards occupational health, and include it in the conversation on public health. To demonstrate further commitment to the HSE’s Helping Great Britain Work Well scheme that placed more priority on health than ever before, the BSIF commissioned an investigation into local county and unitary authorities to find out respective spend on work-related respiratory disease. Through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, 402 councils were contacted. 

The justification for this research comes after the Federation’s concern that the 2012 Health and Social Care Act – that gave local authorities responsibility for public health spending, supported by a ring- fenced grant and a specialist public health team – hadn’t yet recognised the impact of occupational health. The BSIF wanted to know how much is currently being spent on occupational health within these local authorities in order to understand the scale of their activities and recommend how to achieve their task. 

Of the 217 local authorities that responded to the FOI, just eight reported allocating any funding to respiratory health, and within those eight, only four stated that the funding was specifically related to in-work projects. The funding was mostly supporting employee-focussed smoking cessation programmes. The investigation showed that most councils across the UK are not investing in work-related respiratory health programmes.  

The latest HSE stats published in October 2016 highlight the very real and continuing threat of occupational respiratory diseases, and the BSIF is concerned that investment in tackling this risk is very low. In the past year, there were approximately 12,000 associated deaths due to occupational respiratory diseases, with 30,000 individuals reporting breathing or lung problems they believed were caused or exacerbated by work.  

Central government has previously prioritised other health initiatives, including preventing premature deaths within the NHS, publishing dedicated campaigns on cancer, heart disease and improving fitness, without mentioning the workplace. The Federation is committed to ensuring that the importance of occupational health is considered and that in the future all conversations on general health include occupational health.  

In addition to the call for occupational health to be highlighted as part of public health, the report identifies how local authorities, with the support of the BSIF and BSIF members, can achieve positive outcomes:

•  Local Authorities should dedicate a set amount of their budget to tackling work related respiratory disease 

•  Local Authorities should commission targeted publicity campaigns to raise awareness of the diseases

•  Local Authorities should support training in the correct use of Respiratory Protective Equipment

•  Local Authorities should ensure that all tight fitting Respiratory Protective Equipment is competently face fitted by Fit2Fit Accredited face fitters

•  Local Authorities should ensure that all personal Protective Equipment is supplied by Registered Safety Suppliers

•  Local Authorities should access the willing support of BSIF members

Alan Murray, BSIF CEO said: “More than 31 million people are now in work and the issue of workplace illness will not disappear. Occupational health is public health. Work-related respiratory illnesses are a huge threat to UK society and must start to be given the critical focus they need.” 

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Final call for entries to BSIF Safety Awards 19/04/2016

The BSIF Safety Awards are open to all in the industry who have shown product innovation, exceptional customer service, and through safety excellence, illustrate dedication to improving occupational health and safety. The entry deadline is 6th May 2016.

The three award categories that companies can enter are: 

Product Innovation – This award is dedicated to new products that are contributing to improvements in the health and safety industry through their innovation. Last year this award was won by 3M for the Organic Vapour End of Service Life Indicator. 

Service Awards – This award celebrates companies offering exceptional and innovative service solutions, voted for by the entrants’ own customers, ensuring that the accolade is a true reflection of the service given.  The 2015 winner was Capita Health Safety and Environmental Consultancy, scoring highly on all levels of service provision from administration and invoicing, day to day service delivery, account management, governance and service improvements. 

Safety Excellence – Based upon case studies submitted by members, this award recognises major improvements in occupational safety created in 2015/16. Last year Brammer and the Royal Mint picked up the trophy for their success in reducing hand-related injuries to zero. 

For information on how to enter and the judging criteria, please visit www.bsif.co.uk.  

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Safety Awards: Open for entries 12/02/2016

Submissions are now open for this year’s BSIF Safety Awards which are open to all in the industry who have shined in exceptional customer service, product innovation and are dedicated to improving occupational health and safety.

 The Awards promote the importance of innovation whilst underlining the highest standards of occupational safety and health. There are three award categories that companies can enter: 

Product Innovation – This award is dedicated to new products that are contributing to improvements in the health and safety industry through their innovation. Last year this award was won by 3M for its Organic Vapour End of Service Life Indicator. 

Service Awards – This award celebrates companies offering exceptional and innovative service solutions, voted for by the entrants’ own customers, ensuring that the accolade is a true reflection of the service given. The 2015 winner was Capita Health Safety and Environmental Consultancy, scoring highly on all levels of service provision from administration and invoicing, day to day service delivery, account management, governance and service improvements. 

Safety Excellence – Based upon case studies submitted by members, this award recognises major improvements in occupational safety created in 2015/6. Last year Brammer and the Royal Mint picked up the winner’s trophy for their success in reducing hand-related injuries to zero. 

Commenting on the awards, Alan Murray, CEO of the BSIF said “Celebrating successes at the Safety & Health Expo is one of the most exciting times of the year and highlights how much our industry has to offer. Winning a BSIF Safety Award is an excellent marketing opportunity for the recipient and leads to lots of deserved publicity.”

The entry deadline is 5pm on 6th May 2016. For full information on how to enter and the judging criteria please visit www.bsif.co.uk

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Impact of new health and safety sentencing guidelines 09/12/2015

Alan Murray, CEO of the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) reflects on the new health and safety sentencing guidelines and how these may affect UK businesses.

 The new sentencing guidelines for Health and Safety Offences were published at the beginning of November and are applicable from the 1st of February 2016. The new sentencing process will apply from that date even if the offences were committed before then. In essence the guidelines create a new matrix into which the details of the offence, the circumstances and turnover of the offender are plotted, this process then dictates the punishment. 

Offending companies will be placed in one of four bands depending on turnover:

  • micro (with a turnover of up to £2m) 
  • small (a turnover of between £2m and £10m); 
  • medium (up to £50m) 
  • large (more than £50m). 

From 1st February 2016, fines could exceed £10m for serious health and safety breaches or £20m in corporate manslaughter cases, and even more for very large companies. The previous starting threshold recommended for all corporate manslaughter convictions was £500,000, but under the new guidelines, a Category A (high culpability) offence committed by a large organisation would start at £7.5 million with a category range of between £4.8 – £20 million. A medium sized company convicted of the more serious of two severity levels of Corporate Manslaughter Act breaches can expect a fine of between £1.8 million and £7.5 million, with a benchmark of £3 million. For small organisations, a Category A offence would start at £800,000 with a category range of between £540,000 -£2.8 million. For micro organisations the starting point for a fine after a high culpability corporate manslaughter offence will be £450,000, which is below the £500,000 suggested in the current guideline.*

The BSIF supports both the consistency that this approach will deliver and the fundamental proposition that neglecting Occupational Safety and Health will result in increased punishment levels. However one concern that the BSIF would like to raise is the potential for trials to take even longer to progress as the significant raising of fines and the evidencing of applicable turnover levels will take time in a process that is, we believe, already taking too long. Often the results of a prosecution are a long time after the incident has taken place. This can reduce the public impact as it appears to be a situation that occurred years ago with the assumption that things would surely have changed since then.

Apart from the linking of fines directly to the level of the turnover of a business which is found guilty the most significant change to be aware of is where previously a sentence has reflected the outcome of an offence, that is the resulting injury; from February 1st the fact of the 'exposure' to the risk will be clearly reflected in a sentence whether an injury has actually occurred or not. Take for example, an employee falls off a ladder and breaks an ankle – the new sentencing guidelines could recognise this as a risk of death situation rather than consider it just on the result, i.e. the broken ankle. 

In summary, the new sentencing guidelines have the potential to prove very costly to business when you consider that annually over 600,000 workers are injured in workplace accidents. As a consequence, businesses will now be further motivated to ensure their risk assessments are complete, their safety and health programmes are fit for purpose and this can only be a good thing.

* The DEFINITIVE GUIDELINE Health and Safety Offences, Corporate Manslaughter and Food Safety and Hygiene Offences Definitive Guideline



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BSIF announces 2015 award winners 07/10/2015

The British Safety industry Federation has announced the winners of the BSIF Outstanding Contribution Award and the Commitment to Federation Activities Award for 2015.



Alan Murray, BSIF CEO, said: "On behalf of the BSIF, I would like to congratulate the winners of this year’s awards. They clearly demonstrate the excellence and the commitment to health and safety that the awards aim to recognise, and as such are very worthy winners.”


Outstanding Contribution Award

Awarded to an individual who has improved occupational health and safety through exceptional personal effort, the BSIF is extremely pleased to make this award to Dr Bob Rajan-Sithamparanadarajah OBE JP PhD CChem FRSC FFOH ROH SIIRSM, who was nominated for his lifelong commitment to occupational health and safety. In addition to holding a senior position within the HSE he has worked extensively with a number of other national safety oriented organisations and academically with universities, as well as contributing his time as a volunteer both at home and abroad. He has taken a prominent role in developing many of the BSIF's educational and awareness projects, such as ‘It’s in your hands’ and ‘Clean air? Take care!’


Commitment to Federation Activities Award

This award was presented to David Holdham, CE of Centurion Safety Products. who has shown exceptional personal commitment to the work of the BSIF. The company is a founding subscriber of the British Safety Industry Federation, and its CE, David Holdham, has been personally involved and committed to BSIF goals since the very early days. For more than 20 years David has given freely of his time and expertise to further the interests of the industry through the work of the Federation, spending that time at a senior level on the BSIF's Federation Council, with a long spell in charge as acting chairman.

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