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BSIF co-produces guidance with British Standards Institute

02 February 2017

In the first exercise of its kind the British Safety Industry Federation and the British Standards Institute (BSI) have published a joint guidance document for the PPE market.

EN 388 is the standard for protective gloves against mechanical risks, such as cut, abrasion and impact. The standard has been revised, and the BS version will include a national annex. BSI uses a national foreword or annex when the UK team developing a standard feel that the general version requires additional information for clarity. In this instance the national annex recommends ways to avoid confusion for the user when displaying the results from the two different methods which can now be used for testing cut resistance.

The use of two different cut test methods will mean new sets of markings on protective gloves and BSIF is concerned about the difficulty for users and specifiers in interpreting these and relating them to the previous markings, so the BSIF Protective Glove and Clothing Product Group worked on market guidance for users to help them understand the changes. At the same time, BSI were keen to let the safety industry know the implications of the revision to the standard, so working together we have developed a document to support users and supplier alike. You can download a copy of the guidance at: tinyurl.com/hdqq5gg

Can we renew 260,000 product certificates in 12 months?

Following its 13th Annual Seminar on PPE in January 2016, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health organised this year’s meeting in Berlin as a workshop, which BSIF attended to discuss issues still to be addressed in the move for our industry from the PPE Directive to the PPE Regulation.

While there are many items which still require clarity, the hot topic is the date by which all PPE on the European market will have to be certified to the new Regulation. The European Commission is currently interpreting the transition requirement to mean that this will have to be completed by April 2019, a seemingly impossible task given the estimate of 250,000-260,000 certificates which this applies to. The Regulation is not applicable until April 2018, so that only gives 12 months for all those renewals, and even if some preparatory work can be done once Notified Bodies are accredited for the Regulation, the volume of work will still cause delays and shortages of some PPE, leading to lack of protection for workers.

BSIF has been working with the European Safety Federation (ESF) to propose that products can continue to be sold with current Directive certificates until they become invalid in April 2023 (unless the certificate expires before that), which would give a more realistic period for the renewal work. This appears to be allowed for within the Regulation (Article 47, paragraph 2), but the Commission do not currently interpret it this way.

Given that the change to the Regulation does not affect the performance or technical attributes of any of the PPE it covers, and therefore does not affect the safety of the end user, BSIF believes allowing renewal up to April 2023 a more reasonable and workable requirement, and will continue to argue for this approach.