Since April 21, 2018, the new PPE Regulation (EU) 2016/425 is in effect. This Regulation lays down requirements for the design and manufacture of personal protective equipment (PPE) which is to be made available on the market. After April 20, 2019, manufacturers may no longer introduce personal protective equipment (PPE) that meets the requirements of the previous regulation, 89/686/EEC, into the market. That was announced by the German Association of Technical Trade (Verband Technischer Handel: VTH) on its Web site (German only).
However, if manufacturers have marketed PPE products before the cutoff date, they may still be sold after April 20. That’s the determination of new PPE Regulation.
Employees are required to wear PPE when they are exposed to hazards at the workplace. What constitutes a hazard (in Germany) is defined by the hazard assessment laid out in §5 of the Working Conditions Act (German only). The employee supplies the required PPE.
Annex I of the PPE Regulation describes the risks the PPE is to protect against.
Category I of the Annex covers PPE for minor risks, including cases where employees could suffer superficial injuries from machinery or come into contact with mildly aggressive cleaning agents. Category III covers only PPE that is to be worn when facing risks with serious consequences, such as irreversible health effects, or even a risk of death. Category II covers PPE for all other risks.
The new PPE Regulation means that products like ear protectors, life vests, or PPEs that protect against cuts from handheld chain saws will belong to Category III in the future. Another new element is that dealers now have greater responsibility. In the future, dealers and importers must ensure that their goods have been inspected and that they have the required certificates.
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