Working in the rain?
23 January 2013
Currently European legislation regulates the performance of rainwear for workers to make certain it meets a minimum requirement. This ensures workers are adequately protected in adverse weather and since they frequently have little choice but to continue to work despite the weather, it is important they receive sensible protection.
However, proposed changes to the EU legislation (the PPE Directive) may result in this requirement being dropped. Most high street rainwear does not have to meet the adverse weather requirements (although a lot does), but of course we have the opportunity to get in out of the rain or change our jacket if it's not performing. For the industrial user that's just not possible.
If you are a linesman climbing a pole or a road worker on the motorway, the last thing you need is to lose concentration because rain is running down your back. It could lead to unsafe practices and serious injury.
The proposed revision to the PPE Directive contains some excellent improvements and is designed to help fully protect workers. However this change could be a retrograde step. Adverse weather (rain, snow, wind, sun etc) is a serious problem when you work outside. Ensuring the clothing you wear is adequate must be a basic requirement, leaving the selection to chance or the vagaries of unsubstantiated claims by suppliers are just not good enough.