Safety of personal protection equipment
Personal protection equipment is designed to provide appropriate protection against the dangers associated with certain activities. This equipment protects the wearer against potential dangers to their health and/or safety.
For example, work gloves, helmets (for bicycles), wrist guards, knee pads, sunglasses, dust masks, goggles etc.
When wearing PPE is required, the employer must ensure it is provided.
The employer should avoid, insofar as possible, dangers and risks to their employee’s health and safety, or limit them at source.
Persons performing non-professional activities, such as amateur sports, handymen and non-professional users must decide for themselves if they wish to use personal protection equipment. Often these users do not have the necessary knowledge to correctly assess the risks and dangers associated with their activities.
The following factors are important when selecting PPE:
- the severity of the danger;
- the frequency of exposure to the danger;
- features of the place where the work is carried out;
- the effectiveness of the PPE.
The general provisions and safety requirements for PPE are described in the law of 9 February 1994 on the safety of products and services. The Royal Decree of 31 December 1992 concerning the placing on the market of personal protection equipment specifies the exact requirements and procedures.
Some PPEs are expressly excluded from these regulations:
- helmets and visors designed for two or three-wheel motor vehicle users;
- PPE designed and manufactured specifically for the armed forces or law enforcement services;
- PPE designed for the rescue of persons on board ships or aircraft (which are not worn continuously), such as on-board life jackets;
- PPE for self-defence against attackers such as aerosol dispensers and personal deterrence weapons;
- PPE covered by other specific regulations, such as breathing apparatus for firefighters;
- PPE designed and manufactured for private use against certain atmospheric conditions, humidity, water and heat. For example, umbrellas, household gloves, oven gloves etc.
As a producer (manufacturer, manufacturer’s representative, importer etc.), you must ensure that the PPE you place on the market meets essential health and safety requirements.
In addition, all PPE that you put on the market should carry the CE mark and a CE declaration of conformity. This means that, depending on the equipment’s design, various procedures must be followed prior to placing PPEs on the market. The main differences between the procedures are as follows:
- Simple design PPE (category I):
- apply the self-certification procedure.
- PPE of design that is not simple or complex (category II):
- submit the product for EC type examination by a Notified Body.
- Complex design PPE (category III):
- submit the product for EC type examination;
- perform manufacturing quality control, either via a CE guarantee system for the quality of the end product, or via a CE production quality guarantee system with monitoring.
- Questions et réponses sur l’interprétation de la loi du 9 février 1994
- Marquage CE : quoi? Pourquoi? Comment ?
- Décision de la Commission du 21 avril 2005 relative aux articles de loisirs flottants
- Sécurité des produits et des services, loi 09-02-1994
- Critères de fonctionnement et modalités de contrôle du fonctionnement des organismes intervenants, AR 27-04-2007
- Réglementation relative aux équipements de protection individuelle, AR 31-12-1992
- Filtres éléctrostatiques
- Campagne gilets de sécurité (2011)
- Equipements de protection : en bricolant, jouez la protection rapprochée.
- Equipements de protection : sport
- PPE Guidelines for interpretation of the PPE Directive (89/686/EC)
- Loi du 9 février 1994 relative à la sécurité des produits et des services
- Arrêté royal du 31 décembre 1992 relatif à la mise sur le marché d’équipements de protection individuelle
- Arrêté royal du 27 avril 2007 déterminant les critères de fonctionnement et les modalités de contrôle du fonctionnement des organismes intervenants
- ESF – European Safety Federation
- Centre de Recherche et d’Information des organisations de consommateurs – CRIOC
- The Belgian Standardization Body (NBN)
- Federal Public Service (FPS) Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue
- European Commission : Personal protective equipemen (PPE)
- European Commission : CE marking
- European harmonised standards : Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Notified bodies
- European Commission : New Legislative Framework for marketing of products
- European harmonised standards