Image showing several items of PPE including a hard hat, gloves, ear defenders and safety glasses

The British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) is warning anyone whose job involved buying personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety products to be vigilant after their latest tests on some key products highlight the widespread availability of substandard and dangerous items.

Between December 2022 and December 2023, the federation examined 123 non-BSIF-registered products, assessing them for performance, adequacy and compliance with standards. Shockingly, only 21% products proved fully compliant, leaving 79% falling short. Worryingly, many of these substandard products are still available and in use. Find out more, including how to avoid buying such products, in this week’s blog.

Non-member product failures

The British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) is the UK’s leading trade body within the safety industry with members that include manufacturers, distributors, test houses, certification bodies, safety professionals and service providers.

In tests of products made by non-BSIF-registered members and sold via online or High Street retailers, a staggering 79% failed to meet the safety testing standards.

Examples of the failed products included a ‘flame retardant’ parka that was consumed by flames during flame spread testing; a pair of safety boots that failed toe-cap compressions tests; safety spectacles that failed an impact resistance test; protective gloves that failed testing against abrasion; and a respiratory protective mask (FFP3) which performed at only half the required level during filter penetration tests.

Huge contrast with BSIF member test results

Tests conducted on products that were supplied by BSIF-registered safety suppliers contrasted sharpy with the non-registered supplier results. Of the 348 tests completed on products from registered suppliers between December 2022 and December 2023, 91% products passed immediately. For the 9% that initially fell short, all issues were promptly addressed and rectified.

Check for the shield

Speaking of the latest test results, BSIF CEO Alan Murray, called for people to be vigilant about their procurement processes:

“You don’t have to look very far to find examples of inadequate and substandard PPE and safety equipment for sale in the UK. Shockingly, many unsuspecting users are relying on these compromised products for their safety.

“Buyers and specifiers must urgently review their procurement processes and consider what assurances they have that the PPE and safety equipment they are being supplied with is fit for purpose.

“Checking for the BSIF Registered Safety Supplier shield is the easiest way to ensure you only deal with compliant, competent and trustworthy suppliers. Remember, anyone can sell safety, but you shouldn’t buy safety from just anyone; always check for the shield.”

Three step process for safety

The BSIF suggests that buyers and end users follow a simple three-step CHECK, SELECT and PROTECT process when buying PPE to ensure that products are fit for purpose:

1) CHECK your supplier is BSIF registered. BSIF audited suppliers are compliant, competent and trustworthy. Don’t settle for less.
2) SELECT appropriate, certified and compliant products. Registered safety suppliers can support the product selection process through their competence, capability and knowledge.
3) PROTECT your workforce and your business. Registered safety suppliers go above and beyond, helping to keep your people safe and helping your business to thrive.

For a full list of registered safety suppliers, visit:


Feature Image: Love Silhouette/