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European Council adopts new EU-wide rules

22 February 2016

The European Council has updated internal market rules for personal protective equipment (PPE), gas appliances and cableways to enhance consumer safety and ensure fair competition between companies.

According to the Council, the new rules will also improve oversight of the market by public authorities without imposing unnecessary burdens or additional costs to industry.

The final adoption by the Council of the three regulations on 12 February 2016 follows agreements at first-reading between the Council and the European Parliament in October 2015. The new regulation will be applicable two years after it comes in to force, to allow member states to put implementing legislation in place.

Personal protective equipment

Personal protective equipment offers protection against all kinds of hazards (e.g. heat, flames, chemicals, flying particles, mechanical shocks, etc.) in a range of different environments, whether it be the home, at work or on the sports field.

Examples include: head/ear/eye protection (helmets, earmuffs, glasses), breathing protection (gas and dust masks), body protection (clothing providing protection from chemicals, motorcycle outfits and high-visibility jackets), hand/leg/foot protection (gardening gloves, knee pads, safety shoes). Oven gloves are included in the scope of the new regulation, but dishwashing gloves for private use are not covered.

The new regulation updates the existing rules in directive 89/686/EEC. The new rules apply to each individual item intended to be placed and/or put into service on the EU market for the first time.

They set out the health and safety requirements and establish the conformity assessment procedures which have to be followed by manufacturers. These procedures are linked to the degree of risk involved. The "CE marking" is placed on products which comply with the health and safety requirements.

Gas appliances

The purpose of the new regulation is to ensure that gas appliances and their fittings respect EU-wide requirements for a high level of protection of the health and safety of persons, domestic animals and property, as well as for sensible energy use.

Typical appliances burning gaseous fuels include boilers, gas cookers/ovens/barbecues and patio heaters.

Under the new regulation gas appliances and fittings will receive a standard EU declaration of performance to show that they meet a single set of requirements. The regulation updates the existing rules in the Gas Appliances Directive (2009/142/EC). They apply to appliances intended to be placed on the EU market and/or put into service for the first time.

Cableway installations

The main types of cableway installations are funiculars, gondolas, chairlifts, aerial tramways, funitels, drag lifts and combined installations consisting of several cableway types.

Traction by cable and the passenger transport function are the principal criteria which determine the scope of the directive 2000/9/EC, which applies to installations built and put into service as from 3 May 2004.

The new regulation replaces directive 2000/9/EC, which already dealt with safety, environment and market compliance requirements, and will provide greater consistency of rules across the EU.

Cableway installations are unique products adapted to local conditions and linked to a fixed infrastructure and mobile machinery. Safety components and subsystems are subject to the rules on the free movement of goods and to the conformity assessment and Declaration of Conformity.