Regulating the supply of PPE is at the heartbeat of keeping the nation safe while working. Every sole in the UK must make sure they are compliant with the new PPE Regulation as it will shortly be sewn in to UK Law. The new PPE Regulation will replace the current existing PPE Directive from the EU Parliament, Council and Commission and it will apply to the entire Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) supply chain. Failure to make sure your Personal Protective Equipment is compliant could mean horrendous consequences and in the extreme case, death of the user.
What is the current PPE Directive?
The PPE Directive was drawn up in 1989 to help promote a single European market for goods. It was aimed to cast down barriers to trade by making sure all products were to meet common minimum health and safety requirements. The driving purpose was for it to be applied equally and consistently throughout the EU and the other trade partners of the European Economic Area (EEA). The PPE Directive has generally been a success by the merging of standards for PPE, removing barriers to trade and helping to develop a large European PPE market.
Why is there a change from the PPE Directive onto the PPE Regulation?
People were concerned that the range of products and whether they meet standards or not weren’t adequate or consistent. This proved the limitations of the PPE Directive. Modern technology meant that processes for market surveillance, developing PPE and bringing it to the market has impressively changed. Transforming the rules from a Directive into a Regulation was therefore a serious requirement. The difference was, the PPE Directive sets out a goal for EU countries to achieve, transforming it into a Regulation makes it a binding legislative act which must be applied in its entirety across the EU. The new PPE Regulation will become fully effective on the 21st of April 2018 and will be mandatory for all EU member states. Please note though that there is a 1 year overlap period, where by the Directive will still be operational until the 21st of April 2019. This means you will have a year to make sure all the PPE you buy is compliant with the new regulation. Nevertheless, EC type-examination certificates from the Directive that have already been issued remain valid until 2024, provided those EC type-examination certificates do not become invalid for any other reason, such as expiry dates, classification changes or product changes requiring reassessment.
The New PPE Regulation
You must be aware that the rules that govern putting Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) on the market in the European Union (EU) have been strengthened and updated. The PPE Regulations 2002, through which the PPE Directive was implemented in the UK are therefore now obsolete. Under the new regulation:
- Products will be assessed on the risk which the product is designed guard against, rather than a certain quality specification the product has to meet.
- PPE must be supplied with a declaration of conformity to the Regulation.
- Five year limits have been put on CE certificates.
- Everyone in the supply chain of the products is responsible from the manufacturer’s right through to the distributers.
- Another of the positive points about the new regulation is that it will become mandatory for all EU member states to comply, therefore helping to eliminate the availability of inferior products on the market.
The UK has one of the best combined health and safety records in the World, and the new PPE Regulation stands to enhance this further by providing industry with a major opportunity to raise standards of PPE equipment throughout the entire supply chain. The main challenge will be to make these opportunities a reality but with pro-active support from the industry, it is certainly achievable.
Here at Safpro, we always take the issue of PPE quality very seriously. We pride ourselves in outsourcing the testing of our ONYX products to independent product testing specialists to provide the customer with the highest assurance that our PPE is fit for purpose. As keeping our customers safe is imbedded into our culture at Safpro, we welcome the tightened regulation to enhance responsibility throughout the PPE supply chain. If you keep an eye on our website over the coming months, you will begin to see the new Data Sheets and Certifications appearing against the products.