Vladimir KOTOV: We are interested in the PPE market being as transparent as possible.
Why is public control over PPE necessary? Why do you need to go to BIOT and who makes innovations? We talked about this with Mr. Vladimir Kotov, the President of the Association of Developers, Manufacturers and Suppliers of Personal Protective Equipment (ASIZ).
Last December, the Board of the Association elected its new President, Vladimir KOTOV, a well-known person in professional communities: in the past a successful businessman and respected official, then an efficient top manager of a large enterprise. Over the first six months of his work Vladimir KOTOV and his colleagues managed to do quite a lot. But there are even more plans and long-term tasks.
RO: Vladimir, what is the development benchmark of ASIZ? What are your plans?
VK: The Association is a public organization; therefore, we are a mediator, that is a communicator of all participants of the PPE market. Our priority is to resolve problems of this market.
The Association is the initiator of many changes in the regulatory and legal acts that determine the fate of labor protection in Russia. We will continue to develop a unified policy in cooperation with market participants and present it to regulators. This is one of the main goals of ASIZ. But our main task is to ensure the safety of a working person and the interaction with the regulator is, perhaps, the most effective way to resolve this issue.
Together with the Ministry of Labor Protection of Russia we organize one of the largest exhibitions in Eastern Europe, the CIS and Russia, that is called BIOT and it is held annually at the end of the year, at VDNH in Moscow. This event should be further developed in order to present to the public the full importance of the use of PPE, to promote safety culture among workers and promote responsibility for ensuring PPE among employers. And this is not only an exhibition of PPE, it is an exhibition about safety.
At BIOT we will present the most up to date solutions in the area of training, industrial, environmental, fire safety. PPE is the last frontier in ensuring the safety of a working person. That is why we take into consideration absolutely all aspects that will prevent injuries or get occupational diseases. We will continue our work in this direction.
RO: How to deal with counterfeit PPE? Today there are many talks about this …
VK: Why is there a counterfeit? Because it is in the interests of some groups. The problem must have comprehensive solution, you cannot do with only prohibitive measures. The Association implements its activity into several directions in order to address the abovementioned problem.
Firstly, from a regulatory point of view. New legislative initiatives, that have already been adopted, need to work more clearly. The origin of counterfeit goods. There are goods that are incorrectly labeled, do not correspond to the declared characteristics – they are also referred to as counterfeit goods. What relates to counterfeiting and what does not? This issue needs to be further worked out.
The incoming control is one of the solutions. There are good practices that existed back in the days of the Soviet Union, one of them is the acceptance of products. That is why we will cooperate with enterprises in order to exchange practical experience on how to effectively carry out incoming control when receiving PPE. Manufacturers who fully possess information about their products are interested in having these products evaluated equally, on the other hand, feedback from consumers is important. ASIZ will be a platform for the exchange of such unique experience.
Unfortunately, trying to optimize and reduce costs for PPE, many consumers have lowered the requirements to the product quality. Referring to the 223rd and 44th federal laws, companies are trying to set the main criterion when choosing not high quality, but low price. This approach leaves loopholes for counterfeit goods. And this also requires a solution.
The second issue ASIZ will continue its work on is the control in the area of certification. It is no secret that today there is a large certification market. It is played by various players, including unscrupulous ones, who issue and receive certificates for the products that do not always meet the declared characteristics and requirements.
The association is interested in ensuring that certification organizations honestly fulfill their obligations, and companies have no opportunities and temptations to go through the so-called simplified procedure and receive a certificate quicker.
That is why we plan to introduce public control. We already have an agreement with the Federal Accreditation Service, and we began to actively work with accreditation and certification authorities, laboratories that conduct tests. We strive to make this dialogue as open and honest as possible, and procedures as transparent as possible.
RO: There are lot of questions about electronic marking. It is expensive. But will it be effective?
VK: An absolutely unprecedented event, which has no analogues in the world in terms of scale of implementation. Of course, the Association is an active participant of this process.
Some members of ASIZ (e.g. “Vostok-Service”, “Tekhnoavia”, “Paris Communeе) took part in the pilot project on shoes marking. It started last year, and on July 1, obligatory labeling of shoe products started.
As part of the pilot project, our experts have already proposed more than 40 changes to the use of marking technologies, identified many unresolved and seemingly invisible problems. Some of them have already been resolved with the help of the Association. For example, we convinced, and our arguments were accepted, and the consumer was taken away from the participants of the procedure. This greatly simplifies the implementation of the procedure itself.
Labeling will make the PPE market more transparent, from the goods’ production to the end user. We will see the whole chain. Moreover, as an option, the possibility of entering information about the certificate of conformity has been introduced into the marking. Thus, a complete chain is created where the links “who and when checked” appear.
We are actively involved in these processes, because we are interested in the maximum market transparency. And we are actively sharing this experience with our member-organizations. That is why members of the Association, learning a little earlier and more information than the rest, have the opportunity to go one step ahead of other companies.
Read in our next publication the continuation of the interview by Vladimir KOTOV on how the largest exhibition BIOT will change and what innovations of PPE can be presented there.