An overview of the standards set by the new regulationThe main standards set out by the Regulation 2016/425 are as follows:
- Ensuring PPE meets the vital health and safety requirements
- Ensuring technical documentation is in place
- Ensuring a Declaration of Conformity is created with a CE mark (once compliance has beendemonstrated)
- Maintain records for ten years
- Sample testing
- Responding to non-conforming PPE with appropriate actions
- Following labelling requirements
- Cooperating with, and providing instructions for, the national authority
Categories of PPEThere are three main categories of PPE:
- Simple design — category I: if workers are presented with minimal risk, this is the category of PPE required. Example items — garden gloves, ski googles, footwear, etc.
- Neither complex nor simple design — category II: these items are more complex than category I, but not as complex in design as category III. Example items — dry and wet suits.
- Complex designs — category III: items that protect workers against potentially mortal danger or life-changing injuries fall into this category. Example items — respiratory equipment and harnesses.
Maintaining PPE compliance among workersEmployers have a duty of care towards their workers, but it’s true that getting workers to cooperate with PPE requirements can be frustrating. According to some studies, as many as 98 per cent of employees have seen fellow workers not wearing the correct PPE, and a further 30 per cent admit this is a regular occurrence. Common excuses for not wearing the supplied PPE among workers include that:
- It makes them too hot
- The garments or equipment were unattractive
- The garments or equipment didn’t fit them well
- The garments or equipment were not practical