Questions you need to ask to ensure that a PPE Supplier is genuine

PPE has risen in demand throughout the course of the pandemic and has led to global shortages as suppliers have been unable to churn out enough stock from factories and production lines. The small volumes of stock readily available on the ground has led to a volatile price range within the market.

Unfortunately, many PPE items that have been bought at low price points have been found out to be counterfeit and do not meet safety standards and regulations, it is obscene that some overseas companies have compromised their product quality to offer competitive prices and maximise profit margins.

To counter these issues, we have raised some questions you can ask your supplier to help you avoid getting stung.

How can I be sure of the quality of your products?

It is always good to ask the supplier if they’ve had their products quality control checked and can provide certification to verify product quality.

Asking about the certification and safety standard regulations will ensure you get a good quality product.

Ask the supplier if their products have undergone a rigorous testing process before leaving the production facility to make sure they offer a suitable level of protection for the desired industry use.

Is the price too good?

Be wary of the price point, if the product is below market price – it is probably too good to be true.

You can use an online procurement platform like Applegate to gather and compare the best prices.

What is a CE mark?

All PPE items on the European market must have CE marking and therefore meet the numerous basic health and safety requirements set out from the PPE Directive.

Is the stock on the ground (OTG)?

If the supplier is happy for you to go and view the stock in person, it would be a telling indicator that the supplier is genuine.

Are you able to view proof of life (POF)?

If they can provide physical proof of the stock they possess, there should be no doubt in mind. Many government buyers are asking to see a live video to ensure that the supplier has access to the stock.

How do I background check a potential supplier?

Check that the company exists, does the company have a physical location? This can be done by looking for a physical address on the company’s website.

Give the company a call, speaking to a business representative is a great way to vet their services and products.

Using a search engine like Google will enable you to look at what other people are saying about this company, whether it is a company review, a social media post or even a forum.

There are companies out there that can perform factory audits, verifying certifications and qualifications of the suppliers.

How can I ensure that I am using authentic PPE?

All PPE must be supplied with usage instructions and be tested and stamped with CE marking.

You can contact the notified body regarding the authenticity of any PPE.

Signs that face masks may be counterfeit can be found within this guide developed by HCSA.

Can we speak to a company who you have supplied PPE to previously? Or do you have any case studies or testimonials?

Linking back to supplier transparency, communicating with a company that has purchased from the supplier in question should give you the utmost confidence in your own decision making process before making any purchase.

If they are unable to provide a direct reference to contact, any case studies or testimonials may be able to provide you with the assurance you require.

Can you send samples?

With any product that you would look to purchase at a high volume, you want to ensure that you are spending your money wisely and, of course, would want to avoid buyer regret. A supplier that allows you to try out PPE items would appear to be genuine; they are happy for their product to be used and tested – it is a very transparent way to approach selling to the consumer.

Importance of PPE

PPE should be worn to minimise exposure to hazards that have potential to cause injuries or illnesses within a working environment. Injuries or illnesses could stem from contact with physical, chemical, mechanical electrical, radiological, or other workplace hazards.

The importance of personal protective equipment has been demonstrated throughout the course of the pandemic, especially within the medical sector. PPE has been used as a barrier to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus from patients to healthcare workers, ultimately saving lives!

With the mass rollout of the vaccine and the overall demand of PPE items beginning to flatline, we believe that PPE still has a part to play in schools and colleges.


If you didn’t already know, we connect buyers with suppliers. We have many PPE suppliers within our network and can help you source quality products suitable to your working environment.

Whether you are looking for gloves, respiratory protection, safety equipment, face masks or any health and safety product to meet your unique health and safety standards - we can match you with a suitable supplier.

All our buyers go through a verification process to confirm their identity. We always encourage our buyers to do their due diligence on suppliers before making a purchase, as responsibility does not fall to Applegate for this. It is always good practice to do your own research as previously mentioned.

If you’re looking for any items of PPE, let us know your PPE requirements, and we'll connect with relevant suppliers to provide multiple quotations. 

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