There is a wide variety of personal protective equipment available on the market. Therefore it is important that you pay special attention to the features and usage of a product before making your purchase decision.
Personal protective equipment such as helmets, safety goggles and respiratory and hearing protection devices must comply with strict safety requirements.
If you need to use personal protective equipment at work or in a leisure activity, make sure you check the following before you buy it:
- What will the equipment protect you against?
- Will it provide sufficient protection for whatever you intend to use it?
Also check before you buy the product that the packaging contains:
- user instructions in Finnish and Swedish;
- the CE marking, which is the manufacturer's assurance that the product meets the safety requirements;
- the manufacturer's or importer's name and address.
Remember that the CE marking is not a general safety marking or a comprehensive guarantee of safety or quality. The CE marking is not a safety label issued by a public authority. Instead, it is the manufacturer's assurance that the product meets the EU requirements that apply to it.
A product may look like personal protective equipment yet fail to provide protection
There are various consumer products available on the market that look like personal protective equipment but fail to provide sufficient protection and may therefore cause serious risk or harm to health.
Personal protective equipment and other products that resemble them may be difficult to tell apart because they are often sold next to each other at retail outlets such as hardware stores. Examples of products that have been for sale include:
- a headphone radio that looks like a hearing protector but does not meet the requirements set for hearing protectors;
- hygiene masks that resemble respiratory protectors but do not have the protective qualities required of respiratory protectors.
Make sure you regularly check the condition of your personal protective equipment
Personal protective equipment can only improve your safety if used correctly and maintained regularly.
Its level of protection or functioning may be reduced if not maintained correctly. The user instructions should data regarding duration of protection and instructions regarding:
- how and how often you should check the equipment's condition;
- how you must store, clean and maintain the equipment.
Second-hand personal protective equipment may offer insufficient protection
You should usually not get second-hand personal protective equipment because its protection performance or reliability may be reduced.
Although a helmet may look fine on the surface, its protective performance may have been reduced or entirely lost due to a hard knock, wear or exposure to sunlight. For example:
- The level of protection provided by a cycling or horseriding helmet may be reduced as the material ages.
- The reflective capacity of a high-visibility vest may be reduced by washing and exposure to sunlight.
Report your observations − you will help others by doing so
If you suspect that a product or service you have used may constitute a risk to your health or property, report it to Tukes.