PPE imported from Turkey fails to meet essential health and safety requirementsPrint publication
A 84-tonne shipment of personal protective equipment (PPE) imported from Turkey has been grounded in Heathrow following expert testing that confirmed the equipment failed to meet essential health and safety standards. This will come as a blow to the healthcare sector, who are currently suffering from shortages of PPE vital to their protection in the fight against COVID-19.
This story highlights the importance of ensuring compliance with regulatory and product safety requirements in relation to PPE, whether it is being manufactured in the UK or imported from other countries. Whilst the Government has followed European Commission guidance to relax the regulatory requirements in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is still critical that PPE meets appropriate standards to ensure it is safe to use and offers the level of protection expected.
As the UK remains bound by the EU regulatory requirements in relation to PPE during the Transition Period post-Brexit, businesses wishing to manufacture and place PPE on the market during the current pandemic must ensure that:
- Proposed PPE meets essential health and safety requirements set out in the EU Regulation 2016/425 (EU PPE Regulation); and
- Conformity assessment procedures have been started via a Notified Body – this process involves testing and certification to ensure PPE meets the essential health and safety requirements.
Businesses looking to import PPE for use by employees, for example, will also need to ensure that the PPE meets the essential health and safety standards before it is distributed. This can either be achieved by obtaining conformity assessment certification from the manufacturer demonstrating the PPE meets the standards set out in the EU PPE Regulation, or by arranging for conformity assessment testing to be completed in the UK when the PPE arrives. Of course, as with the PPE imported from Turkey, where PPE is tested on arrival in the UK and fails to meet the essential health and safety standards, it cannot be placed on the market. Clearly, the lost time and cost associated with importing vast quantities of ineffectual PPE is something every business will be keen to avoid.