Counterfeit Equipment: Do You Know What to Look Out For?

Counterfeit safety shoes

Counterfeit or illegal items of PPE in the UK market are on the increase. Established product brands and manufacturers such as DMM and Edelrid are often the target of counterfeiters looking to make a quick buck from people who are just looking for something that will keep them safe. The thing is, these products often do not perform as they should, endangering lives and exposing organisations to the risk of prosecution.

To help combat this problem, we’ve compiled a list of the most common types of counterfeit PPE, with all the tips which will help you to spot illegal products – so you don’t get caught out by the counterfeiters! Read on to find out more.

The Most Common Types of Counterfeit PPE

Items which are really popular and simple to reproduce are seen as easy targets for counterfeiters, but it’s likely that there are counterfeit versions of pretty much every type of PPE on the market. Here are the most common ones:

list of the most common types of counterfeit PPE

How to spot counterfeit or illegal PPE

The hardest part of a piece of PPE to fake is the CE (Conformité Européenne) Certificate. Luckily for us, knowing a little bit about what a CE certificate and marking should look like will help to spot counterfeit equipment quickly – before anyone starts to use it!

All PPE must be supplied with instructions for use and be appropriately tested and marked with a CE marking – without it the product is illegal to use as protective equipment in the workplace. CE certificates are also required to contain a number of pieces of information, which are listed below.

Here’s what you need to be checking:

  • Is the CE mark present on the product marking/labelling?

  • If present on the product, is the CE mark in the correct font and at least 5mm high?

  • For high risk products, including respirators and chemical protective clothing, is the CE mark accompanied by a 4-digit number? (e.g. CE 0120)

  • Were written instructions for use provided within the product?

  • Are the instructions for use printed in clear and legible text?

  • Are the instructions for use written in the language used in the manufacturer’s country of origin?

  • Is the name and address of the manufacturer detailed on the user instructions?

  • Does the certificate clearly contain the notified body’s name and number (4 digits)

  • Is the notified body from within the EU? There are a few non EU notified bodies and therefore caution should be taken.

  • Does the certificate show signs of tampering i.e. differing fonts and sizes, colour changes etc.?

  • Does the certificate contain a date and notified body signature? (generally an individual)

  • Does the certificate have its terms and conditions included?

  • Does the certificate show a clear description of the product, including model references, specifications, and test references?

  • Does the certificate state that it is an EC type-examination certificate?

  • Does the certificate include a manufacturer’s name and address?

  • If a validity period is stated on the certificate, is it still current?

When buying expensive PPE that’s going to you last a long time, it’s always worth requesting to see the CE Certificate directly from the supplier or manufacturer you bought it from. To confirm its authenticity, you can call the notified body in your country, who will be happy to check the certificate against their records. Find out who the notified body is in your country by clicking here.

If you have answered “No” to one or more of these questions then you should immediately contact your PPE suppliers for advice.

Want to know the easiest way to find out if your equipment is genuine? Find out about our Barcode and RFID technology here.

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