Personal Protective Equipment covered by this directive is divided into 3 categories:
Category I – ‘Simple’ design P.P.E. – e.g. gardening gloves,
Category II – ‘Intermediate’ design P.P.E. e.g. cycle helmets, high visibility clothing.
Category III – ‘Complex’ design P.P.E. – e.g. Fireman’s Structural Fire Suits.
Defines the obligation of manufacturers as regards PPE. Personal Protective Equipment placed on the market in EU Member States must comply with directive 89/686/EEC and carry the CE Marking.
Nationally and internationally, a range of standards exist designed to protect workers from a variety of dangers present in the workplace. In the European Union these standards come under the aegis of the Personal Protective Equipment Directive 89/686/EEC which can be defined as any device to be worn or held by an individual for protection against one or more health and safety hazards.
Manufacturers as well as distributors, legislators and end users require conformity to those standards applicable to their particular product, industry or end use and it is of the utmost importance for end users that they only specify and purchase equipment which conforms to their particular end use. Specifiers should always consult the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 before purchasing any PPE. A very useful publication in respect of firefighting can be found by following the link: www.joiff.com/catalyst/PPEHandbook.pdf
As part of its commitment to innovation and development Waterford Uniforms constantly explores new materials and processes in an attempt to improve existing products beyond the current ruling standards for PPE clothing. Indeed, under EN ISO 9001:2008 QA there is a requirement to demonstrate improvement to processes, year on year, and the company takes this directive very seriously.
Countries within the European Union conform to a series of standards carrying the prefix EN and these standards are developed and published by the European Committee CEN/TC162 – www.bsi-global.com/en . This committee is responsible for determining performance criteria under which all products are manufactured. For fire protection these standards include; EN 469:2005/AC2006 Level 2; EN 1486:1996, – Protective clothing for firefighters; EN 15614:2007 Protective clothing for firefighters – Wildland clothing; EN ISO:2008 – Protective clothing for workers exposed to heat; EN 471:2003+A1:2007 -High-Visibility warning clothing for professional Use; EN343:2003, Protective clothing-protection against rain, EN470-1:1995; Protective clothing for use in Welding and Allied processes; EN340:2004; EN ISO 11611:2007 Protective Clothing for use in welding and allied processes; EN ISO 14116:2008 Protective clothing. Protection against heat and flame. Limited flame spread materials, material
assemblies and clothing.< For other areas internationally, in addition to European Standards, there is the International Standards Organisation (ISO) - www.iso.org which publishes the following standards relating to firefighting: ISO 11613:1999 – Protective clothing for firefighters, Laboratory test methods and performance requirements; ISO 15384:2003 – Protective clothing for firefighters, Laboratory test methods and performance requirements for Wildland ISO 15384:2003. For North
America there is the National Fire Protection Agency – www.nfpa.org . All these organizations can be contacted by following the links in this text.