Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus in the UK, many British luxury businesses have quickly turned their sights to what they could do to help beat COVID-19 and many more have indicted that they would like to join the effort.
One area that is proving particularly challenging is the production of personal protective equipment (PPE) which is so vitally needed by front-line NHS workers, but also care workers and other sectors who routinely use PPE, including food production, pharmaceuticals and construction. Such is the need, the government launched a three-step plan for a national effort on PPE last week to ensure that equipment is getting to people who need it most.
The CBI has also mobilised to help businesses join forces and help in the production of PPE and the following guidance was provided by the CBI and BEIS today:
Items that are most needed Gowns – in shortest supply
Splash resistant masks
If your business is able to help in the production of any of the items above, the first step is to register your support with the government here
One of the big challenges for businesses who wish to help is understanding standards they need to meet in the production of PPE – at one end of the spectrum are homemade items at the other is the mass production and manufacture of high-tech items.
As part of the response to manufacture more PPE equipment, the UK has (as of 26th March) adopted two easements of European legislation relating to PPE.
1. Allow PPE goods to be placed on market before conformity assessment procedures and CE marking is completed. The product must, however meet the essential health and safety requirements set out in law and to enable this the manufacturer must still have contacted a notified body and begun the conformity assessment process and they need to have proof of this before being able to sell or donate PPE products.
2. For PPE being purchased (or donated) by govt for use in the NHS – this can be supplied without conformity assessment providing it meets the essential health and safety requirements and this would be assessed by HSE as the market surveillance authority. HSE they are ultimately responsible for approving which products go to market
If you are unsure whether you are able to support or would like more information on technical specifications for PPE, please click here and for more information about the temporary suspension of regulations around PPE, click here.
If you have any further queries, you can email the CBI's Business Heroes inbox and the CBI may also be able to help match your business with another organisation to help your efforts, for example your business can manufacture, but needs help with distribution or packaging.
If you business joins the PPE challenge, has any other initiatives to help combat Coronavirus or is supporting vulnerable people, we would love to hear about it. Please contact Charlotte Keesing and Carly von Speyr or [email protected]