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British Safety Industry Federation Warns Against Non-Compliant Safety Footwear

15 November 2023

The British Safety Industry Federation is urging those responsible for procuring and specifying safety footwear to be aware of non-compliant items for sale in the UK.

People working in the built environment are sometimes required to wear specialist footwear which protects against hazards including slips, sharp objects, heavy loads, extreme temperatures, and chemicals. In the UK, safety footwear used at work must comply with regulation (EU) 2016/425 and follow the relevant approval procedures to qualify for a UKCA or CE mark. 

Research from The British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) shows that products on the UK market do not provide the protection they promise. Between December 2021 and December 2022, the BSIF assessed 42 items of safety footwear produced by non-registered Safety Suppliers and found that five passed its tests covering the regulatory requirements on both product performance claims and on the required supporting documentation. 

The BSIF offers membership of its Registered Safety Supplier Scheme to manufacturers that commit to producing PPE that is fully compliant with all relevant standards and regulations and is appropriately UKCA or CE marked.

BSIF CEO Alan Murray said: “PPE used at work must carry a UKCA or CE mark that shows the product meets the minimum legal requirement for its design as well as basic requirements for health and safety. Sadly, non-compliant and, on occasions, even counterfeit products are on the rise. We advise anyone responsible for buying and specifying safety footwear to look for the RSSS shield to help keep their staff safe and healthy in the workplace.”


Category II or III PPE


PPE designed to protect against anything more than minor injury is classified as Category II or III. These products must undergo a type-examination by an accredited testing body to ensure they meet their ‘Essential Health and Safety Requirements’ (EHSR). Category III products, which protect against permanent damage and death, additionally require ongoing, at least annual, independent quality assurance through either Module C2 Product Verification or Module D Product Quality Assurance.

Manufacturers are obliged to provide the Declaration of Conformity along with user instructions and technical documentation to sell and distribute Category II and III safety footwear in the UK, demonstrating that products meet all the necessary regulations and safety requirements. 

The BSIF encourages all those charged with specifying PPE to:


  1. CHECK your supplier is BSIF-registered. BSIF-audited suppliers are compliant, competent and trustworthy. Don’t settle for less.
  2. SELECT appropriate, certified and compliant products. Registered Safety Suppliers can support the product selection process through their competence, capability and knowledge.  
  3. PROTECT your workforce and your business. Registered Safety Suppliers go above and beyond, helping to keep your people safe and helping your business to thrive. 


A full list of registered suppliers is available to view at

Picture: a photograph of a shoe being folded in half by a person’s hand. Image Credit: BSIF

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 15 November 2023


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