You can’t trust ‘approximate’: Trust the CHSA Accreditation Scheme Marque

Labels that state an approximate length, width, count or weight cannot be trusted according to the Cleaning & Hygiene Suppliers’ Association (CHSA). The only way buyers of cleaning and hygiene products can guarantee they get what they pay for is to buy product stamped with the Marque of the CHSA’s Manufacturing Standards Accreditation Schemes.

As well as auditing members the CHSA’s Accreditation Schemes for Soft Tissue, Plastic Refuse Sacks and Industrial Cotton Mops, the CHSA’s Independent Inspector, Martin Yates, also regularly spot checks non-member products. He is raising this issue after noticing a growing number of products labeled with only ‘approximate’ dimension, count and weight.

“If a label says there are approximately 200 sheets on a paper roll there could easily be just 180 sheets,” said Martin Yates. “If there are approximately 100 sacks in a pack, there may only 90. There is no way for buyers to know unless they physically check. No one would accept an approximate amount of money dispensed by a cash machine!

“Approximate is not good enough. By definition it’s not precise. Buyers have no guarantee they are getting what they pay for. The only way they can be certain, is to buy products stamped with the Marque of the relevant Accreditation Scheme.”

“The CHSA stands for standards,” continued Mike Stubbs, Chairman of the CHSA’s Manufacturing Standards Accreditation Schemes, “and it is our rigorous auditing process that underpins this.”

Martin Yates visits every member repeatedly through the year, selecting product from the warehouse and production line for inspection. He confirms the labels comply with the relevant Scheme’s specification. This ensures buyers can be confident “what is on the box is in the box” and the product is traceable to the manufacturer and specific batch. He confirms the dimensions of the soft tissue are as specified and the industrial cotton mops and refuse sacks are fit for purpose and dimensions are specified. Martin also audits members’ quality systems to ensure they are as vigilant with their own systems as with the products audited by the Inspector.

Scheme Members are fully aware of this. If they fail to meet the standard they may be ultimately expelled, a sanction not required in recent years as they value their membership.

Gaining admittance to a Manufacturing Standards Accreditation Scheme is challenging. Applicants must pass the initial audit of their full product range and existing quality assurance processes.  They are then audited frequently throughout the first year to ensure they maintain the standard that was required of them to gain membership of one of the Schemes.


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