The recent case of Poundworld highlights the importance of only buying Personal Protective Equipment from a supplier that can prove the product's authenticity and compliance.
Poundworld has been fined over £63,000 after it was found to be selling non reflective Hi-Viz safety vests with the logo 'be safe, be seen' on them.
The case came about after Trading Standards purchased a vest from one of the store's branches and had it tested to measure its visibility in low light conditions. The testing company reported that the results were "amongst the worst ever recorded." Poundworld, which had sold over 95,000 of these £1 vests, issued a national recall of the product.
During its defence, the court heard that the Chinese manufacturers of the vests had provided test certificates which were misleading. Poundworld admitted that it fell short of due diligence and had now changed its policies and increased its UK test centres.
Following the judgement, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Richard Thake commented that: “The public have purchased over 95,000 of these seemingly bargain vests with a false sense of security, no doubt trusting the descriptions on the packaging, that they would be safe and seen, when they would have been nothing of the sort. This case should act as a warning to all businesses that fail to complete adequate safety checks, putting customers at risk of serious injury or death. Trading Standards will have no hesitation in investigating such cases and if diligence is found to be lacking, put them before the court.”
Alan Murray, CEO of the BSIF stated: “It is extremely disappointing that such a well-known retailer would be selling a product that was misleading and could put lives at risk."
The BSIF is committed to ensuring that PPE products meet relevant standards and operates the Registered Safety Supplier Scheme. All registered safety suppliers on the scheme are independently audited to confirm compliance with the scheme's requirements. A full list of registered companies can be found on the BSIF website.