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Why CE markings are no guarantee your PPE is safe

6 July 2018 | By Dave Cox

Dave Cox explains the unseen risks for construction workers and businesses.

Dave Cox

Although the UK construction industry is one of the safest in the world, with the lowest incident rates of work related deaths in the EU, there’s a gap in the compliance process that is putting workers at risk of injury – even though they are using CE-marked PPE which they believe will protect them.

As a health and safety manager, you may believe that you and your people are fully protected and compliant when you specify or buy PPE with CE marking.  The reality is that some of it is failing, putting wearers at risk of injury and businesses and individuals at risk of loss of reputation, fines and even possible imprisonment.

The evidence is particularly strong in CE-marked safety footwear and gloves that are freely available on the market.  Independent laboratory testing in 2017 showed that around 40% of non-metallic footwear and 30% of rigger gloves failed surveillance testing, despite carrying the CE mark. 

With around 600,000 workers each year reporting that they have suffered an injury at work, the consequences of failing to apply due diligence to PPE purchasing are huge. Without a robust process in place, accidents and injuries could be life changing and not just for end users but for the individuals (and the businesses they work for) who are involved in specifying and purchasing the equipment.

If you are concerned about the risks of failing CE marked PPE leaving you and your business exposed, click here to watch a short film about this important issue.  CE markings do not guarantee compliance and as an employer or health and safety manager, you have an obligation to ensure that whatever you buy is compliant.

Dave Cox is head of construction at safety specialist Arco.

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