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There are concerns within the personal protective equipment (PPE) and construction industries that site workers in the UK could be using hard hats that are not suitable.

With concerns extending to the use of other pieces of safety equipment on building sites throughout the country, the industries are eager for a new EU directive to come into law.

That will see distributors and retailers bearing shared responsibility for the quality of the PPE they trade in.

The directive is deemed necessary with the high levels of cheap and ineffective PPE on the market today. These inferior products, which are poorly made and offer limited protection, fail to conform to current safety standards.

Some of the PPE that has flooded the UK market is also counterfeit. This has led the industry to urge firms to ensure they work only with reputable suppliers, and to check that products meet British or European safety standards and are correctly labelled.

So bad has the fake goods market become, that some items are even being supplied with fake certification and safety standards. To many people not used to buying and checking the suitability of safety workwear, it risks the health and safety of construction workers.

The new directive will hope to change this. Presently, it is only manufacturers that are responsible for checking that their products comply with the latest performance standards.

The new European PPE directive, which is in draft status at the moment, will task companies selling PPE products to maintain records proving the products they sell are safe and fit for use.

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