Posted at 08 October 2019

PPE regulation change: Are you prepared?

Paul Skade
By Paul Skade
Category Manager, Industrial MRO and Safety

I’ve been in the Tools and MRO industry since leaving school 45 years ago. I’ve enjoyed a wide and varied career in a variety of Sales and Procurement roles in th...

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The PPE Regulation has changed, and not necessarily to something simpler. If you're wondering about your duties and obligations around Personal Protection Equipment since 21 April, this expert update will help you and your colleagues stay on the right side of the regulation, and stay safe too.

 

When new PPE Regulation came into force on 21 April last year, they gave a year’s breathing space until 21 April this year. During that interval, new products conforming to the original PPE directive could still be placed on the market. But from 21 April 2019, all new PPE products placed on the market must be manufactured and certified under the new Regulation 2016/425.

So what does this mean for you, your colleagues and your safety at work?

Your protection; not your problem

The good news is that as a purchaser or user of PPE you will benefit, but you won’t have to worry about conforming. As long as you always buy properly certified PPE equipment – and why wouldn’t you? – the Regulation is not really your problem.

The changes are more of a concern for manufacturers, importers and distributors, who will have to ensure that the products they make, import or sell are certified correctly in line with the current legislation. Even then, there’s still some leeway.

 

Products are generally certified for 5 years at a time (Category III for 1 year), so current certificates will continue to be valid until they expire or until 21 April 2023 – whichever is sooner. That means that if you buy new PPE during this period and it’s the supplier’s “old stock”, it will still be certified, still be safe, and still ensures you meet your PPE obligations.

Not just red tape

The changes to the Regulation may simply seem like more bureaucracy to deal with. But many decisions on PPE have been made across Europe in the time since the original Regulation was written, and PPE manufacturers and users have been working with these new requirements in the meantime. All the changes do is bring them all together in one place.

Many of these changes you won’t even notice, and won’t need to. However, you do need to be aware that some products have changed category.

Other category changes include those for products which protect against cuts by handheld chainsaws, and those which protect against high-pressure jet cutting – both of which move from Category II to Category III.

One other change is that products are no longer defined by name (such as "life jackets" or "hearing protection") but in terms of risk (such as "risk of drowning" or "harmful noise").

Safe Choice

It's easy to say don't worry about the new regulation. But when your job or your safety depends on it, that's not so easy to do. What's easier is to let someone else do the worrying.

By choosing to source your PPE from ERIKS, you can take a weight off your mind and pass on the burden of compliance. ERIKS – and all distributors – are obliged under the new Regulation to:

  • Act with due care
  • Verify that the PPE bears the correct markings and is accompanied by the required documents in a language that can easily be understood by the consumer
  • Not make PPE available on the market if it is not considered to meet the essential health and safety requirements
  • Ensure transport and storage do not jeopardise the PPE’s conformity

 

Naturally, ERIKS will meet these obligations. In addition, as a reputable distributor, we will ensure all supplier partners are adhering to the new Regulation. And we’ll ensure we know the provenance of every single PPE product we offer.

 

Lastly, ERIKS is also fully informed on the possible Brexit implications for PPE, and will ensure the equipment you buy continues to meet your health and safety obligations, whatever the outcome of the UK’s withdrawal.

In the face of changing regulations, changing circumstances and changing requirements, ERIKS is always your safest choice for PPE.

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