There has been a nationwide shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), creating a high demand for these products. As a local business you may consider making or importing items like face masks, gloves or other protective clothing.
Think carefully about the procurement processes as we are aware that a number of these products are not clinically effective and in some cases the suppliers are operating fraudulently.
The PPE easement ends on 31 March 2021. From 1 April 2021, all PPE (including COVID-19 related PPE) intended for the general Great Britain market for use in the workplace and for private use must undergo full conformity assessment and be conformity marked. Read more at GOV.UK – Resuming full conformity assessment of COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
The Health and Safety Executive has issued a safety alert about KN95 masks. This type of mask may not give adequate protection and you should ensure you have the documents to prove compliance including Notified Body supporting information.
We support businesses who wish to help the NHS and our Key Workers, however nobody wants to supply a product that does not meet the essential safety requirements and fails to provide any protection from COVID-19.
If you are considering making or importing PPE, these guides give more information:
- GOV.UK – Regulatory status of equipment being used to help prevent coronavirus (COVID-19)
- GOV.UK – PPE regulations
- GOV.UK – New High-Volume Manufacturers of COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- GOV.UK – New Small-Scale Manufacturers of COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- GOV.UK – Guidance for manufacturers and makers of face coverings to comply with the General Product Safety Regulations 2005
- GOV.UK – Guidance for manufacturers and makers of face visors to comply with the General Product Safety Regulations 2005
- GOV.UK – 3D printing (additive manufacturing) of medical devices or component parts during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
- Commission Recommendation (EU) on conformity assessment and market surveillance procedures within the context of the COVID-19 threat
- British Standards Institute is providing free access to the PPE Standards for a limited time.
- UKAS guide to Checking the validity of CE marked PPE.
All products should be clearly labelled with both the composition of the product and the actual price charged, which should reflect the general principles of good faith. We continue to receive complaints about excessive prices being charged.
Any claim that does not meet the requirements of the appropriate legislation may give rise to criminal offences. An example is: “Gives coronavirus protection”.
We encourage all producers and distributors to carefully consider the Advertising Standards Authority guidance on advertising responsibly and ensure any claims made (including medicinal) are fully substantiated
Bear in mind that certain PPE could be considered as a medical device, and check that any products and certificates are from a legitimate source. Read more at GOV.UK – UK medicines and medical devices regulator investigating 14 cases of fake or unlicensed COVID-19 medical products.
You can find more information on common trading standards issues in our free self-help business advice guides.
For regular updates on a wide range of business matters that will be of use to both employers and employees, see Heart of the South West Growth Hub COVID-19 support for business.