Friday, August 14, 2020

BEWARE FAKE PPE, WARNS BESA

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 on the latest webinar hosted by the Association, Paul Manning from the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) said 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.

She 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 Ms Crosland.  

 

Restriction
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.
The documents provide clear, concise information, prioritising worker and customer safety.
“Being able to work safely and reduce the risk of Covid-19 during any work is vital to stop the spread of the virus,” said Ms Crosland. “The health, wellbeing and safety of both workers and customers must be a priority during the pandemic.”
All of the documents have been thoroughly researched, taking into account current government guidance, and providing clear, concise and easy to use information.
“These documents have been created to help everyone working in the building and engineering services industry – not just our engineers,” said BESA panel member Rosie Newcombe, health and safety manager at Royston Group. “The main goal was to ensure that people can work safely and feel comfortable in their working environment,” she added.

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There is a comprehensive collection of Covid-19 guidance documents available to download free from the BESA website and the latest ones include:

GN 4 Carrying out work in a domestic environment
GN5 Face Coverings
GN7 Type and properties of face masks
GN8 What to do if there is a suspected Case of COVID-19 and Track & Trace Procedure.

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