BSIF Marketing Manager Ian Crellin recently sat down with Registered Safety Supplier Scheme (RSSS) Manager Roy Wilders to discuss Roys’ first year in the role.
Hello Roy, thanks for joining me in this discussion, congratulations on making through the first year of your role as registered Safety Supplier Scheme Manager here at BSIF!
I wanted to discuss your experience of BSIF and how your work over the past year has shaped the RSSS.
How much did you know about the RSSS before you joined BSIF?
A reasonable amount actually, mainly from my time working for a Manufacturer of PPE – I was responsible for signing them up to the Scheme and also had other involvement with the BSIF Special Interest Group for Protective Clothing & Gloves and was nominated to Bsi Committees as a BSIF representative.
After a full year managing the scheme has, anything surprised you?
I think it is fair to say that the past year has been extremely surprising – certainly, the profile of PPE and Safety by association throughout the Pandemic has been at a higher level than ever before. One of the most surprising things I have seen is the amount of organisations with no experience or knowledge of the Safety & Health Industry setting themselves up as ‘expert suppliers’ with nothing to back up their claims. I am also saddened by the amount of non-compliant and counterfeit PPE and documentation that finds its way into the marketplace. We work hard to assess any product highlighted to us as potentially non-complaint and to pass on our findings to the Market Surveillance Authorities.
What has been the biggest challenge for you in regards to the RSSS throughout the last year?
Well, obviously, the pandemic has led to challenges in being able to conduct audits; however, we have adapted and utilised I.T. solutions where relevant. The biggest challenge aside from this has been the sheer volume of audits to be conducted. I have travelled an incredible amount in my first year across the UK and even with support of my colleagues, it has not been possible to conduct all audits in the normal way due to the pandemic, therefore we have adapted and introduced online auditing, we hope to have a new auditor in place for 2021 – being busy is not something I will ever complain about, but it is good to know we will meet our targets of auditing all members in 2021.
Has the RSSS changed over the last year and if so in what way?
Yes, the engagement that we have had with our members has highlighted a need to expand the scheme to provide additional value to our members. Specifically those who are offering services linked to safety products and services – such as the Measurement/Instrumentation related to Gas Detection, Hand/Arm Vibration etc. & those providing MRO services such as Breathing Apparatus service/overhaul etc. As a result we re-wrote and published the 9th version of our Handbook in April detailing the changes to our audit processes – and we have plans to take this further in the future.
Why do you think the RSSS has become so important firstly to companies that operate within the PPE/Safety product sector and secondly to those that purchase PPE/safety products?
For those manufacturing/selling PPE/Safety equipment and/or providing services, the Scheme has a robust auditing process that whilst simple in concept allows the supplier to prove to their customers that that they take safety seriously and are confident enough in their products/services/processes to be completely open to engage with the audit process. In addition, the recognition afforded to the Scheme by the HSE and Trading Standards provides the supplier with some confidence that they are managing their due diligence effectively.
For those purchasing PPE/Safety Equipment & Services there has never been a time when ensuring that the ‘product’ purchased is not only fit for purpose, but also compliant with relevant legislation and that the supplier has robust processes and procedures in place to ensure that the quality of the product is maintained and, in the unlikely event there is any concern, the suppliers are able to act swiftly to rectify any issue.
It’s about confidence in the supply chain – confidence for those supplying the solution that they are doing things ‘right’ and the RSSS Badge displays to the wider public that they can be trusted – a win/win for all concerned
What advice can you give to people looking for a supplier?
Well if I did not recommend the Registered Safety Supplier Scheme in answer to this question, I am in the wrong role!
The BSIF and RSSS Websites detail all of the members of the scheme and now has functionality that allows end users to search for manufacturers and suppliers of PPE, Safety Products and Services. These end users can be assured that those displaying the RSSS shield commit to only providing compliant products/services to their customers
What is involved in an RSSS audit?
It varies depending upon the company being audited – Manufacturers have a different audit process to distributors and again is different for those providing services. At its most basic the Audit assesses the quality processes and management in place for these organisations and then also tests or assesses products or services offered – either through laboratory testing to specific standards/test methods or by assessing/witnessing the competency of organisations to conduct the services that they offer.
What’s next for the RSSS? How do you see it developing?
We continue to grow! We are seeing new members join us who are entering the safety world for the first time, which we encourage as it allows us to ensure that they are meeting all the relevant requirements, not only of our audit but also of specific legislation such as the PPE Regulation (EU) 2016/425.
In addition, with the support of our members activities through our Special Interest Groups, we have begun to develop audit processes for the Spill and Hazard control sector, as well as the Working at Height Sector and it is my long term aim that we should have an audit process for any business involved in the Safety & Health market, that provides assurance for end users and also value for the manufacturer/supplier as well.
Thank you for your time Roy, we look forward to a second year with you further progressing the Registered Safety Supplier Scheme here at BSIF.
If you would like to find out more about the RSSS you can download the scheme brochure below or visit the website: