Under new legislation, your existing hearing protection measures may need re-evaluating to remain compliant.
With the PPE Regulation EU 2016/425, hearing protection is being re-categorised from Category II Intermediate PPE to the higher Category III Complex PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). This new legislation was officially adopted in February 2016, with the provision coming into force on the 21 April 2018. So, manufacturers have until the end of April 2019 to ensure that all Hearing Protective Equipment (HPE) products on the market are reclassified to meet this new classification and certified accordingly.
New PPE Regulations - Impact on Manufacturers
In many instances, this means that existing HPE products are being re-submitted for testing to ensure compliance to the new classification and the necessary updating of their certification. Due to how the EN352 testing procedure is conducted, the resulting attenuation data for an individual hearing protection device can change as a direct consequence of this retesting process. In most cases it is expected that any changes will only be minor tweaks, but there are reports of some products where the SNR value has changed by as much a 7dB.
It has also prompted manufacturers into reviewing the range of products they currently offer to market. Where products are no longer covered by their existing certificates and have sales which no longer warrant the implicated costs of compliance to the new regulations, the products are being withdrawn from sale. This will result is less choice for the end user.
New PPE Regulations - Employers Responsibilities
Any end user with noise issues and who is currently using hearing protection should be aware of this as it has implications in respect to their current site Hearing Conservation Programme, their site Noise Survey and its comparison to HPE suitability. Since the attenuation performance for the HPE is very likely to be changing by the end of April 2019, after this date the comparison with HPE will no longer be correct. Employers could potentially find themselves supplying the wrong levels of attenuation and be in contravention of EN458 by either over or under protecting their workforce.
Finally, helmet mounted ear defenders must be certified in conjunction with the exact make, model, or size of helmet they are to be fitted to. It is no longer acceptable to assume that just 'because it fits' means that it will automatically be certified.
PPE Regulations, Employer Compliance FAQ
How we can help
At Safer Hearing we are committed to providing our customers with the latest advice and can help you answer and address these questions.
If you require any assistance with implementing a noise management solution that complies with the upcoming regulations, please contact us today for a no obligation chat.