Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is defined as being any device or appliance designed to be worn or held by a worker for protection against one or more safety and health hazards during normal working activities. The European Community, with the aim of rendering uniform and harmonising the legislation of member states for health and safety in the workplace, has issued two directives regarding Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): – European Directive 89/626/EC of 29.12.89, acknowledged and implemented by all Member State governments to implement the dispo- sitions concerning risk assessment, identification and use of suitable PPE. – European Directive 89/686/EC of 29.12.89 acknowledged through Legislative Decree 475/92 (Italian Government) and by all Member State governments to implement the dispositions concerning the design, manufacture and performance values of PPE.
PPE is classified into three categories, according to the seriousness of the risks against which it must protect users and listed here as follows:
Category I PPE is classified as being all those devices or appliances with a simple design, intended to protect the wearer against slight risks (of superficial, light and reversible lesions from mechanical equipment, lubricants, cleansing materials, ordinary atmospheric agents, etc.) and from light, non-aggressive soiling. PPE must come with self-certification from the manufacturer, stating, under its own responsibility and after identifying the characteristics required to qualify the item as suitable for its intended use, that the PPE conforms to the minimum and essential requirements of the European Directive and to the harmonised technical standards of reference applied during design and manufacture.
Category II PPE is classified as being all those devices or appliances intended to protect the wearer against injury of a medium level of se- riousness and all of the PPE not classified in the other two categories. The type-tested CE marking must be issued by a notified body.
Category III PPE is classified as being all those devices or appliances of complex design intended to protect the user against the risk of death or serious and permanent injury. Type-tested CE marking must be issued by a notified body, which must type-test sample products or perform assessments of the correct implementation of the company Quality Management System.