PERIODIC CHECKS OF PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)
For the Legislative Decree no. 475/92 (law addressed to Italian citizens without distinction), Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is:
- products designed to safeguard the person who wears or carries them from risks to health and safety.
For the Legislative Decree no. 81/08 (law addressed to the safety of workers), Personal Protective Equipment is:
- all equipment designed to be worn and held by the worker to protect him/her against one or more hazards which may endanger his/her health and safety at work, and any addition or accessory designed for this purpose.
The rules regarding safety at work are more stringent and detailed than the rules concerning the security of citizens in general. This is because an employee is not allowed to "assume risk", whereas in many leisure activities "risk-taking" is an inherent element of the activity.
The following is primarily addressed to the "work" sector and is also useful for all attentive and safety-conscious users.
In order to talk about maintenance and control of PPE with knowledge of the facts, it is first necessary to give some normative reference.
Chapter II of Title III of the Legislative Decree no. 81/08, and subsequent amendments, concerning the protection of workplace health and safety clearly stipulates the obligations of the employer concerning the choice of PPE, the conditions in which it must be used, and the necessary requirements. Also, in art. 77, paragraph 4, it is established that the employer:
- maintain the efficiency of the PPE and ensure its hygienic condition through the necessary maintenance, repairs and replacements in accordance with any and all instructions provided by the manufacturer.
Personal Protective Equipment (where the term "personal" means devices that are currently used to protect an individual, and not "a specific person") must not only provide protection, but must maintain that property for the full period of their use. It is clear that devices must be properly maintained and in working order through specific procedures and checks.
Concerning Personal Protective Equipment against falls from height, we make specific reference to the UNI EN 365 (version EN 365:2005 which transposes the EN 365:2004 and replaces the UNI EN 365:1993).
UNI EN 365:2005 is the official version of the European standard EN 365 and specifies the general minimum requirements for:
- instructions for use,
- regular inspection,
- marking and packaging of PPE, which includes restraining devices for the body and other equipment used in conjunction with restraining devices for the body to prevent falls, for access, exits and work positioning, or to arrest falls and for rescue.
UNI EN 365:2005 establishes therefore that all PPE is subject to regular maintenance and periodic inspection and, if necessary, appropriate repairs.
In the regulations we find the following definitions:
- maintenance: serves to keep the device in good condition through preventive actions such as cleaning and proper storage (EN 365 § 3). It can be performed by the user according to the instructions provided with the product information;
- periodic inspection: means an activity conducted periodically (at least every 12 months), providing an inspection of the PPE to check for the presence of defects. In this case, the activity must only be carried out by a competent person and in accordance with the periodic inspection procedures of the manufacturer (EN 365 § 4.4 b-c);
- repair: activity performed if doubts arise or if malfunctions of PPE occur, only where the PPE is repairable. Repairs must be carried out by a competent person, previously authorized by the manufacturer, in accordance with their instructions (EN 365 § 4.5);
- person responsible for the periodic inspection: person with knowledge of the current requirements for periodic inspection and of the recommendations and instructions issued by the manufacturer applicable to the component, subsystem, or the relevant system.
The standard itself notes that this person must:
- be able to identify and estimate the extent of the defects;
- initiate the necessary corrective action, if expressly permitted by the manufacturer;
- have the ability and resources to do so.
It may still be necessary that the person responsible is trained by the manufacturer, or its authorized representative, on specific PPE or other equipment, for example due to their complexity or innovation or where it is essential to have technical knowledge for the dismantling, reassembly or evaluation of PPE or other equipment. It may be necessary to update such training due to changes and improvements.
Finally, a person can be competent to perform periodic inspections on a particular model of PPE or other equipment, or be competent to inspect different models.
The PPE Inspectors Official Register and KONG Complex Equipment
From 1 January 2014, Kong S.p.a. established a PPE Inspectors Official Register in which there are references to all people who attended the special training and who, being deemed "competent", are the only ones that can make regular inspection of all PPE and on all Complex Equipment produced by Kong.
The only updated Official Register is published on the website: www.kong.it
The training course for Kong PPE Inspector takes place at the headquarters of Monte Marenzo (LC) and has a duration of 8 hours.
The details at the following link: http://www.kong.it/en/27-experience/10-training/23-courses/items/3-%C2%A0
Complex Equipment products are NOT PPE but Kong strongly recommends an annual inspection and five-year review.
The review means "inspection + corrective action" and can only be done by Kong S.p.a. at its headquarters or at the offices of foreign distributors.
The Complex Equipment produced by Kong S.p.a. are the following:
- Cevedale (technical rescue tripod)
- Lecco stretcher and accessories (shoulder stretcher)
- Kit Everest Carbon (stretcher for helicopter rescue)
- X-Trim (carbon spinal board)
- Ortles (2-speed winch)
- Stelvio and Mini-Stelvio (fishing pole, mini pole)
- Grizzly (bipod)