Fake PPE and How to Spot It

February 25, 2018 2 min read

Fake PPE and How to Spot It

Fake or Counterfeit PPE items are being discovered more and more according to industry sources. It is difficult to know how big a problem this is. But it is certainly occurring, in 2011 the BBC highlighted the issue on its television programme “Fake Britain” and leading authorities have raised concerns that the problem is still here.


Some PPE is more susceptible to being faked. One example is work gloves, where many are for sale on auction sites that have been imported in bulk into the UK from the far east. We at PWS are receiving information from our customers who have purchased cheaper gloves elsewhere that they are not lasting very long. This could well be a sign of substandard workmanship which points a worrying finger at the EN388 safety ratings on the back these gloves.

Complaints in terms of High Visibility garments is also occurring. Hi-Vis items should conform to EN471 British Standards. If Hi-Viz is not conforming to this standard, it may look acceptable but in low light conditions the stripes will not be performing and therefore the risk of accidents is increased. If Hard hats are also being shipped into this country and they are not meeting the safety standard EN397 you are looking at an increased chance of serious injury and death occurring from accidents.

Counterfeiting is getting better

Counterfeiting and faking goods is become more sophisticated, due to the access of better technologies in manufacturing making it harder to spot items that are fake. These items although to the eye seem good, they are not put through rigorous safety testing required to meet safety standards and therefore offer little or no real protection!

What can you do to protect yourself and your workers?

Use a reputable UK supplier and ask questions of the supplier regarding the PPE they offer. This may seem obvious, but it is an important step, especially if your main buying goal is to achieve best price from a business perspective. Other important checks you can make are;

  • Look for the “CE” Mark, make sure it is in the established font and at least 5mm high.
  • Look for user instructions, they should be present with each item of PPE.
  • Do the user instructions look “bona fide”
  • Is the name and address of the manufacturer on the user instructions?


These are some basic checks you can do. Each type of PPE also has more in-depth safety standards related to its use, whether it be Safety Gloves, Safety Boots, Respiratory Protection, Hi Vis clothing, Industrial safety head protection, etc. Keep an eye out for future blog posts covering these and more in greater depth. Also remember we have our handy Guides page on the website for more info.


Our Range

At PWS we only supply PPE manufactured to the very highest standard and that meets all the UK and European Safety standards. Take a look in our PPE section and buy with confidence.

If you have any questions just give us a call or ask us in the comments below.


Also in PPE & Workwear Blog

Cold weather work gloves
Cold Weather Work Gloves

November 07, 2018 4 min read

Read More
Winter Clothing
Get Ready With Our Winter Clothing Collection

November 05, 2018 2 min read

Read More
Safety Glasses for Cycling
Can Safety Glasses be used for Cycling?

October 25, 2018 4 min read

Read More
Blackrock Thermal Hat and Socks