When you’re competing at an elite level you want absolute confidence in your equipment. Whether your sport is foil-fencing, karate, soccer, rugby, or MMA – confidence comes from knowing your gear has been tried and tested.
At QP Sport, we are often asked if our products are certified and what certifications we have – which is great – people should ask these questions and your equipment provider should be able to answer them. We find in practice, however, that many companies claim to have certified products but when the chips are down, they fail. So let’s get you up to speed with how certification works.
Chest protectors are classed as “Personal Protective Equipment” or “PPE” – just like construction workers’ hard hats and steel capped boots, or crash helmets for cycling.
In most countries, PPE must be made to meet a certain standard, and certified to prove it does in fact meet that standard. For Karate, Martial Arts and Fencing protection equipment which includes items like gloves, masks and chest protectors, the standards used are European CE standards. These standards are stringent and you can find out more about them here.
It’s important to know which set of standards your gear is complying with. There are specific CE standards for both Martial Arts and Fencing, so QP Sport products actually meet 2 standards. That means that we have to design and test our products to pass both the Martial Art and Fencing standards.
These standards outline the qualities protection gear must meet. Things like the area of protection, compression and puncture forces that must be sustained. Also, that the protector straps will stay in place, and that the materials used are not harmful, along with many other elements. If an item truly has passed the standard, then you can be sure it’s of a high quality – and for that reason, the process for meeting the standard is not easy.
To determine if a protection item meets the standard, a manufacturer must send samples of every size of every product to an accredited testing laboratory. There are a number of these laboratories around the world. Testing is rigorous, reasonably expensive and takes a number of weeks to complete.
If the product meets the standards, then the laboratory will issue a certificate stating that the product meets the relevant certification.
All QP Sport products are certified for either Martial Arts or Fencing or to both of these standards.
What does this mean? Well it means that the user can be certain their protector will with stand the forces that occur in their chosen sport. They can purchase with confidence and use their product with confidence. If using that product means facing an opponent on the other side of the mats intent on kicking you into next week – confidence can make all the difference. If the equipment has to protect your ribs during a hard tackle – confidence can help you to meet that challenge head-on.
So, now that you know more about the certification process, how exactly can you tell if a particular brand is certified? This is where it gets tricky: some low-quality manufacturers will claim their product is certified when it is not.
What to do about this? Well in Europe, you can be almost 100% confident any protectors sold will be certified. This is because in most European countries, wholesalers must be able to prove the products they are selling meet these compulsory standards, and “CE Inspectors” visit warehouses regularly to check this is the case.
In the USA and other countries however, this is not the case, and in fact there is no certification standard for products such as Martial Arts and Fencing protection items. This is why many brands seen in the USA are not seen in Europe, because they don’t meet standards.
Guaranteed Certified, Worldwide.
So, no matter where you are in the world, you can be 100% confident that if you purchase a QP Sport protection product, it is guaranteed to be certified, and you can compete with confidence.
We hope that gives you more background into what CE Certified means, and why it is an important consideration when you are purchasing a protection product. You wouldn’t buy a crash helmet that wasn’t certified, and you shouldn’t risk a chest protector that isn’t certified either! Learn more about our sport protection range at qpsports.com