PPE safety: Identifying and avoiding fake face masks and PPE

The risks to PPE safety of counterfeit face masks

Ensuring safety certificates are valid for all PPE used by staff in critical care positions and other front-line roles should be paramount, particularly so in the middle of pandemic when pressures are mounting and demand is higher than ever. However, the pressure to meet demands should not outweigh the necessity to perform due diligence checks on PPE safety.

Throughout the pandemic, there have been several cases where medical goods have been received under an invalid safety certificate, leading to questions over whether the focus shifted from the quality of the goods received to meeting the high pressure to supply.

In one case, the safety certificate named the model number that was printed on the FFP3 masks received, however the masks were not made to the standards of that model. Concerns were also made by users of the masks that questioned the poor design that did not offer the full protection expected and were of a lesser quality.

How you can avoid fake face masks and PPE

  • Look at the issued safety certificates for obvious evidence of forgery, such as a change in font size or typeface that shows inconsistencies.
  • Check that you’ve received a copy of the original certificate and, if you’re unsure, contact the awarding body directly with them to verify that the product is certified.
  • Verify that the awarding body on the certificate is an institute that’s competent for the PPE you’re sourcing. The European Safety Federation list some falsified institutes that have been named on certificates which are not valid. In other instances, some may be genuine institutes, but may not be competent in all PPE.
  • Ensure that the product being purchased is categorised correctly on paperwork; an error like this may suggest a falsified document.
  • Seek legal advice to guarantee the appropriate legislation will be met by the product you’re looking to source within the local authority.

The Supply Source solution

While all these PPE legislation checks can be time-consuming, it’s important that stringent steps are taken to ensure safe and effective PPE purchases. Supply Source removes this pressure and conducts high quality due diligence checks on all suppliers and products, including organising boots-on-the-ground factory site visits. Contact us today to discuss how we work with suppliers to ensure your products meet the highest safety standards.


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