TSO has been the official publisher for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) publications portfolio since 2017. The portfolio includes the Health and Safety Law Poster: What you Need to Know. All employers have a legal duty to display the poster in a prominent position in each workplace, or provide each worker with a copy of the equivalent leaflet.
We identified that counterfeit versions of the HSE Law Poster were being sold by online retailers, containing out-of-date or inaccurate information. It was critical for HSE that, to protect employee health and safety, only official, authoritative versions should be available.
Initially, we sought to remove the unofficial counterfeits from eBay and Amazon.
eBay operates a VeRO programme for the reporting of intellectual property infringements. We set up a VeRO participants’ page for HSE to educate eBay users about the official law posters. We identified more than 50 product listings selling counterfeit versions, and each was reported via VeRO for removal.
We managed infringement on Amazon by reporting via its online reporting tool. The form is intended for use by rights owners and their agents to notify Amazon of alleged infringements, such as copyright and trademark concerns. Five product listings were reported to Amazon for removal.
After the initial reports to eBay and Amazon, three organisations continued to relist counterfeit products. We issued ‘cease and desist’ letters and raised cases with Trading Standards for further investigation.
We also reviewed the format of the official Law Poster so we could add security measures to minimise any potential recurrence of counterfeits on the market.
We added multi-layer overt and covert security to the official Law Poster. This enabled us to educate resellers and customers on the different security features, with several hidden ones only known to TSO and HSE.
The overt security features include:
- a sophisticated hologram (see Figure 1)
- image flip between the HSE logo and the word ’valid’
- optical variable ink licensed only to the UK government (changes colour at different angles)
- an embossed roundel (see Figure 2)
- fine line detail to prevent photocopying (see Figure 3)
- rounded corners.
The covert security features include:
The covert security features include hidden security using three points of periphery, micro text in the main body of the content and in the hologram, and an intentional, hidden mistake within the micro text.
Our experience and expertise delivered the required results for HSE. We ensured that:
- counterfeit product listings were removed from Amazon and eBay within the first five months of the contract
- the main originators of counterfeits ceased production permanently.
As a result, a major reseller of the official Law Poster reported an increase in sales, directly attributed to the removal of counterfeit products from the market.
We also changed the material to one that is commonly recyclable. This delivered the following benefits:
- reduced production lead time from six to three months
- a superior look and feel to the final product
- protecting the environment by using more sustainable materials; we plan to use 100% recycled and fully recyclable material by 2026.