The legislator sets specific requirements for the use of Personal Protective Materials (PPE). These requirements are described in the Working Conditions Decree Articles 7 and 8 and in the Commodities Act. The European Directive 89/686/EEC defines PPE as any piece of equipment or equipment designed to be worn or held by an individual in order to protect him or her against one or more health hazards.
Working with PPE
There are three types (classes) of PPE:
- Low health risk (gloves)
- Minimum health risk (safety glasses)
- High health risk (climbing equipment)
Most of the equipment we use for safe working at heights and rope access belongs to class 3. Materials of the third category before they are put into use must:
- undergo a type of inspection that refers to the European Directive 89/686/EEC and the relevant European Standard (CE certification, certificate of conformity from a recognized inspection body);
- be provided with technical and user instructions in a language understandable to the user;
- be provided with a CE mark with the number of the designated inspection body on the product
- are produced under a European recognized quality assurance system (ISO)
In addition, the following requirements are set:
- Users of PPE must be demonstrably competent in the use of the resources and systems (89/656/EEC-Art. 4.8: training is mandatory, with emphasis on rescue (BHV requirement).
- An RIE/TRA and emergency plan must be drawn up. In doing so, the correct choice of specific PPE must be taken into account with regard to safety, ergonomics and deployability.
- There must be expert supervision of the correct use of PPE.
- PPE must be traceable. An effective PPE registration must be set up.
- Products must be inspected annually by a person authorized and competent by the manufacturer (usually the supplier).
Controls and Inspections
All equipment for working at heights (PPE Cat.3) is subject to a strict inspection regime. We distinguish between the so-called check before each use and the thorough inspection.
Check before every use (pre-use check)
Before using the equipment, each user must carry out a so-called pre-use check (check before use). A pre-use check consists of a visual check of the article and a functional test. The aim is to determine whether the article is in good working order ('fit for purpose'). Pre-use checks are not registered.
All rope access equipment is thoroughly inspected at least every year (IRATA: every six months; performed by a Level 3) against specific inspection criteria. The person conducting this inspection must be demonstrably competent to perform this task. At least once a year, in accordance with Dutch legislation, this must be done by a competent person authorized by the manufacturer (unless the manufacturer prescribes a more frequent inspection regime).
All inspections are registered and included in the PPE administration. A copy of the complete PPE administration must always be available on-site so that it can be demonstrated that all individual items have been inspected (incl. expiry date). During operational activities and training, only "approved" equipment may be used, the inspection date of which has not expired.
All products showing deviations will be taken out of circulation and repaired or destroyed.
Would you like to know more about the approval of PPE and fall protection? Please contact us, we will be happy to help you.