12 October 2016

Have You Heard About The New European PPE Regulation?

The new European PPE Regulation has been published in the European journal on the 21st April, where it began its two year transition period.

The new PPE Regulation revokes PPE Directive 89/686/EEC and all amending directives, allowing it legal status in all EU Member States. 89/686/EEC shall remain valid for seven years after the new Regulation comes into force (that is, five years after it applies) unless they expire on a date before the seven years is complete. The validity of newly issued or, where appropriate, renewed certificates shall not exceed five years.

A product covered by, and in conformity with, PPE Directive 89/686/EEC before the end of this two-year period will have a further 12 months to be placed on the market in EU Member States for its approval to remain valid, otherwise the product will need to be re-approved under the new Regulation.

The Regulation has had a number of significant changes in the latest publication, they have been outlined below.

European PPE Regulation Changes

  • Interchangeable components, which are essential for the protective function of the PPE
  • Connexion systems for PPE that are not held or worn by a person, that are designed to connect that equipment to an external device or to a reliable anchorage point , that are not designed to be permanently fixed and that do not require fastening works before use
  • Clothing intended for private use with reflective or fluorescent elements included for reasons of design or decoration is not PPE and therefore is not covered by this regulation
  • Products for private use to protect against atmospheric conditions that are not of an extreme nature or to protect against damp and water are not covered (e.g., dishwashing gloves)
  • PPE for private use against heat, i.e., oven gloves are now covered and should be in line with similar products designed for professional use
  • Products offering protection against the following have been moved from Category II to Category III PPE – drowning, cuts by hand-held chainsaws, high-pressure jets, bullet wounds or knife stabs and harmful noise. These items will need to be re-classified and include on-going surveillance
  • A web link to the Declaration of Conformity must be given in conjunction with the PPE
  • A five-year validity period for EU Type Certificates (this has changed from EC Type Certificates)
  • Details for the responsibilities for importers and distributors are given
  • Bespoke PPE are now covered.

So what does this all mean?

Well, it means that employers have duties concerning the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) at work and the regulation explains what you need to do in order to meet the requirements.

Regarding the above on the outcome of Brexit, senior associate at Pinsent Masons LLP, Kizzy Augustin, told attendees at the Safety & Health Expo 2016 that:

Around 90% of these laws would have existed without the EU, so Brexit was unlikely to change anything significant soon. Although the government would ultimately be able to remove laws from the statute books, existing legislation would need to stay in place at least for the two-year renegotiation period for the terms of the UK’s relationship with Europe.

Kizzy Augustin, Senior Associate, Pinsent Masons LLP

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