PPE for keeping safe at work
Work gloves, workwear, safety footwear and PPE in general are covered by regulations that govern their use on an industry-specific basis. Complying with these regulations not only means you’re in line with your legal obligations, it means you keep safe at work. In this section you’ll find some of the main regulations governing Personal Protective Equipment. If you have any doubts, however, we advise you to contact us or ask for guidance from the appropriate Safety Officer.
If a product (PPE) bears the CE mark, this means that it complies with the European standard governing its design and manufacture.
NEW PPE REGULATION
On March 9, 2016, the new Regulation (EU) 2016/425 was published which effectively initiated a 2-year transition period before the official entry into force which took place on April 21, 2018. The new PPE regulation will replace the 89/686 / EEC PPE Directive introduced in 1992.
Unlike the Directive, the Regulation applies directly to the member states (the Directive required prior transposition), which must be adapted within the times and in the ways indicated, without exceptions or derogations.
THE NEW REGULATION ALWAYS LEADS PPE IN THREE CLASSES ON THE BASIS OF RISK DEFINITIONS: CATEGORY I, II, III.
PPE CATEGORY I
Category I PPE refers to simple individual protection devices designed, marketed and used to protect against minimal risks at work. Manufacturers are allowed to test and self-certify their gloves.
PPE CATEGORY II
Category II personal protective equipment is designed to protect against intermediate hazards that do not fall under either Category I PPE or Category III PPE that meet greater protection needs.
The personal protection devices for hearing, currently in Category II, will instead be included in Category III of the new Regulation.
PPE designed to protect against intermediate-level hazards (eg gloves for general operations requiring shear, perforation, tear and abrasion resistance) must undergo specific tests and be certified by an independent notified body. Only these authorized bodies can issue a CE mark. Without the appropriate CE mark, the glove cannot be sold or used. Each notified body has its own identification number. The name and address of the notified body certifying the product must appear on the instructions for use accompanying the glove.
PPE CATEGORY III
Category III, on the other hand, includes individual protection devices designed to protect the worker from the most important risks, capable of leading to irreversible or even lethal consequences. PPE designed to protect against the highest levels of risk (eg chemicals, biological agents, electric shocks) must be tested and certified by a notified body. Furthermore, the quality control system implemented by the manufacturer to guarantee the homogeneity of production must be independently verified.
The body that makes this assessment must also appear on the instructions for use and be identified by a number that appears next to the CE mark.
Here are the indications of the changes introduced by the European regulation on safety at work for these devices and the new items included in the legislation.