Industrial solutions provider, ERIKS UK & Ireland, has welcomed the new regulations for PPE gloves, and is calling on industry to familiarise themselves with the changes to ensure PPE gloves are fit-for-purpose.
The PPE Directive 89/686/EEC, which has been in place since 1989, is set to be replaced on 21 April 2018 by Regulation (EU) 2016/425. The updated regulations will include a number of important changes including definitions, markings and test methods, reflecting the latest technology and materials used in glove design and manufacture – all designed to help mitigate the risks of working in specific environments.
Regulation (EU) 2016/425 covers a new measure of cut resistance under EN388 (mechanical protection) as well as changes to the testing of chemical protective gloves under EN374. New markings for chemical gloves are also included, which clearly define type A, B, and C protection levels.
Type A gloves offer protection of 30 minutes minimum breakthrough time for at least six defined chemicals, with Type B offering the same breakthrough time but for only three defined chemicals, and Type C offering just 10 minutes breakthrough time for a single chemical.
There is a broad range of PPE gloves available for mechanical and chemical protection and the new requirements offer the opportunity for PPE users to more closely match specific gloves to individual applications. For example, with mechanical applications there is a new cut test, which ensures that the glove material cannot blunt the test blade, offering superior protection for machine operators.
Paul Skade, category manager for the tools, safety and maintenance product business unit at ERIKS UK & Ireland, commented: “With health and safety taking a leading role in any business, ensuring you have the right gloves for an application will make a job safer and quicker. Although any changes to regulations can cause confusion, the updates to the PPE Directive will actually make it easier to identify and choose the right gloves for an application to ensure worker protection.
“PPE gloves have improved dramatically in recent years, with the use of more technical fibres making them even more effective in providing protection, particularly against mechanical hazards like abrasion, blade cuts, puncturing and tearing. It’s only right then, that regulations are adapted in line with these improvements.”
He continued: “Ultimately, the changes have been made to make specification easier, with the ultimate goal of protecting workers. Manufacturers will already be well aware of the changes, but industrial end-users have sufficient time to ensure they understand the changes before they must implement them. Gloves currently stocked that are certified under the directive can still be used, and can, in fact, still be bought until their certification expires – which may be as far away as 2023. What’s more, information needed to identify the level of protection should be clearly available on either the gloves themselves or in any supporting paperwork.
“Health and safety isn’t an option, it’s a requirement. Industrial end-users should get ahead of the game by ensuring they are armed with appropriate PPE gloves when the updated directive comes in, proving worker protection and compliance is high on their agenda.”