Personal protective equipment

Requirements on Personal Protective Equipment

Category 1

Category 2

Category 3

Type examination of personal protective equipment in Finland

Service providers must arrange the required personal protective equipment
Personal protective equipment must also be used in commercials and advertising materials

Personal protective equipment used during free time and sport

Personal protective equipment is designed to protect its user during work or free time. Protective equipment includes respiratory, hearing and eye protection equipment, helmets and protective gloves and footwear. It is particularly important to ensure that personal protective equipment is safe and proper, as incorrect or uncompliant protective equipment may increase exposure and give its user a false sense of security.

 

Personal protective equipment in the market must meet the European safety requirements. Personal protective equipment is covered by the Personal Protective Equipment Directive (89/686/EEC), which has been implemented in Finland with the Government Decision on Personal Protective Equipment (1406/1993). Under the Government decree on regulations for personal protective equipment intended for consumer use (1101/2009), personal protective equipment must meet the requirements stipulated in the Government decision (1406/1993).

 

The EU Regulation on Personal Protective Equipment (Regulation (EU) 2016/425 of the European Parliament and of the Council on personal protective equipment and repealing Council Directive 89/686/EEC) shall, after the transitional period, replace the current Directive on Personal Protective Equipment 89/686/EEC, i.e. in Finland the Government Decision on Personal Protective Equipment (1406/1993). The Regulation shall be directly applicable in all EU member states, and shall be applied as of 21 April 2018 – with the exception of assessment bodies which shall be subject to the Regulation as of 21 October 2016.

 

At a minimum, personal protective equipment must have the CE marking, the name and address of the manufacturer or the manufacturer’s authorised representative with offices in the European Economic Area, and operating instructions in Finnish and Swedish. Under the Consumer Safety Act (920/2011), authorities may order personal protective equipment missing the CE marking required by law to be removed from the market.

 

With the exception of equipment protecting from minor hazards, protective equipment must be type-examined by a notified body. The notified body issues a type examination certificate to personal protective equipment that meets the relevant requirements. Before placing protective equipment on the market, the manufacturer must draw up a Declaration of Conformity. As stipulated in the law, the documents showing the equipment’s conformity must be presented to the surveillance authority upon request.

The authorities use spot checks to monitor that the manufacturers, importers and retailers of personal protective equipment follow the regulations and that there are only conformant products on the market. Labour protection authorities control protective equipment used at work, and Tukes controls protective equipment used during free time.  To assist manufacturers, a European standard has been drawn up for several types of protective equipment, presenting safety and labelling requirements applying to the products. For more information on standards, contact the Finnish Standards Association SFS

 

Requirements on Personal Protective Equipment

Protective equipment is divided into three categories based on the severity of the risk it protects again. The manufacturer must take different actions depending on the category of the protective equipment.

  


Category 1

Category 1 is for equipment protecting from minor hazards, for example

  • gardening gloves and
  • sunglasses

 

The following requirements apply to Category 1 personal protective equipment:

  1. technical documentation on the equipment
  2. operating instructions in Finnish and Swedish
  3. a written declaration stating that the equipment conforms to the requirements. The EU Declaration of Conformity is intended for surveillance by the authorities. It does not need to be delivered with the equipment.
  4. CE marking, used by the manufacturer to declare that the equipment meets the requirements
  5. in the operating instructions, the name and address of the manufacturer or the manufacturer’s authorised representative (importer) with offices in the European Economic Area.

 

Category 2

This category includes most protective equipment used in sports and during free time or work, for example:

  • hearing protection (for example, earplugs and earmuffs);
  • eye protectors;
  • protective helmets (for example, riding, biking, canoeing, climbing and other helmets used in sports and during free time);
  • life vests;
  • flotation equipment;
  • anti-slip equipment for shoes;
  • ice picks;
  • reflectors; and
  • reflecting vests.

 

Individual studs attached to shoe soles are not considered to be personal protective equipment. Studs and studding is covered by the Consumer Safety Act (920/2011) and the decree on information to be disclosed on consumer products and services (613/2004).

Footwear with the purpose of preventing slips is personal protective equipment belonging in category 2. The manufacturer has pre-installed studs or non-slip tread inserts in this type of footwear, which must be have be tested as a whole by a notified body. The exception to this are sports footwear (for example, football boots, spikes) that are not personal protective equipment.

 

The following requirements apply to Category 2 personal protective equipment:

  1. type examination by a notified body, which issues an EC Type Examination Certificate
  2. technical documentation on the equipment
  3. operating instructions in Finnish and Swedish
  4. a written declaration stating that the equipment conforms to the requirements. The EU Declaration of Conformity is intended for surveillance by the authorities. It does not need to be delivered with the equipment.
  5. CE marking, used by the manufacturer to declare that the equipment meets the requirements
  6. in the operating instructions, the name and address of the manufacturer or the manufacturer’s authorised representative (importer) with offices in the European Economic Area.
  7. in the operating instructions, the contact information of the notified body that performed the type examination of the equipment
  8. if necessary, the standard number applying to the product

 

Category 3

Category 3 is for equipment protecting from serious hazards or mortal danger, for example

  • respiration protectors;
  • fall protection equipment;
  • climbing and descending equipment (incl. harnesses, ropes, carabiners);
  • diving equipment (incl. valves and diving regulators).

 

The following requirements apply to Category 3 personal protective equipment:

  1. type examination by a notified body, which issues an EC Type Examination Certificate
  2. the manufacturer must agree with a notified body on the quality control of the protective equipment production or the final products
  3. CE marking of the protective equipment, also including the ID number of the notified body performing quality control
  4. technical documentation on the equipment
  5. operating instructions in Finnish and Swedish
  6. a written declaration stating that the equipment conforms to the requirements. The EU Declaration of Conformity is intended for surveillance by the authorities. It does not need to be delivered with the equipment.
  7. in the operating instructions, the name and address of the manufacturer or the manufacturer’s authorised representative (importer) with offices in the European Economic Area.
  8. if necessary, the standard number applying to the product

 

Type examination of personal protective equipment in Finland

In Finland, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (ID number 0403) has been declared as the body examining personal protective equipment, and it type-examines the following personal protective equipment, for example:

  • respiration protectors;
  • safety and protective footwear;
  • anti-slip equipment;
  • life vests, flotation clothing, immersion suits and diving suits;
  • fall protection equipment;
  • protective clothing and gloves; and
  • eye and hearing protectors.

 

Service providers must arrange the required personal protective equipment

In services requiring protective equipment (for example, riding helmets), the service provider is obligated to arrange proper personal protective equipment for its customers, guide them in its use and supervise that it is actually used. The service provider must have available protective equipment of the right size for all customers (helmet size, life vest capacity, etc.). The staff must through its own example promote the use of personal protective equipment. If customers are allowed to use their own personal protective equipment, the service provider must ensure that it is appropriate for the activity.

 

The service provider must regularly carry out maintenance on the personal protective equipment. A maintenance log must be kept of the maintenance and inspection. The tools and equipment must be stored and maintained in accordance with the instructions provided by the manufacturer. A person responsible for personal protective equipment must be appointed. Broken and useless protective equipment must be properly discarded so that it in no circumstance gets mixed up with serviceable protective equipment.

 

Personal protective equipment must also be used in commercials and advertising materials

When commercials, advertising materials and, for example, websites are being prepared, personal protective equipment must be kept in mind. People appearing in the commercials must wear protective equipment, if the depicted activity requires them. Disregarding safety issues in commercials may lead to the imitation of the activity depicted in the commercial may lead to a seriously dangerous situation. If a commercial violates the safety requirements for products and services, the commercial is also in violation of the marketing rules of the Consumer Protection Act. For example, the marketing of a riding camp must feature people who are wearing proper helmets in the commercials.