Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) & Rescue Equipment
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that is intended for use with fall protection systems needs to be regularly inspected. Typical PPE for use with a fall protection systems includes a Harness (Full Body), a shock absorbing lanyard, an attachment device (Karabiner or system specific connector i.e. Latchway transfastener), a helmet designed for work at height, plus other system specific equipment.
The importance of ensuring the correct specification, fitting and inspection of this PPE should not be under estimated. Doing so can very quickly identify the "weakest link" in any fall protection system.
Regular inspection is very important as PPE can become damaged or lose its effectiveness, due to general wear and tear, misuse and exposure to dirt, grit, UV light or chemicals. Our service ensures that your PPE is fully compliant, in date and fit for purpose.
Legislation governing the use and inspection criteria for PPE
At Eurosafe Solutions, we advocate the approach taken by the Work at Height Safety Association (WAHSA) with regards the inspection of PPE.
The WAHSA technical guidance note 3 brings together the recommendations of the PPE regs 1992, BS EN 365:2004 and BS 8347:2005 CoP, HSE Guideline INDG 367. The WAHSA technical note advocates that employers establish an inspection regime, which should be drawn up by a competent person. This regime should include:
- The equipment to be inspected (including their unique identification);
- The frequency and type of inspection (pre-use checks, detailed, interim inspection);
- Designated competent persons to carry out the inspections;
- Action to be taken on finding defective products;
- Means of recording the inspections;
- Training of users
- A means of monitoring the inspection regime to verify inspections are carried out accordingly.
Where required, we can establish an inspection regime specific to the site and the frequency of use and the type of PPE provided. We can undertake some, part or all, of this inspection regime, which is dependent upon the customers’ requirements and in-house competencies. This would include;
- Pre-use checks
- Detailed inspections (every 6 months)
- Interim inspections. (3 monthly intervals - as applicable)
Frequency of inspection
- Pre-use checks
These checks are essential and should be carried out each time, before the product is used. They should be tactile and visual and would normally be carried out by the user.
- Detailed inspection
These are formal comprehensive inspections that should be carried out from time to time at intervals as set out in the employers’ inspection regime. There should be a detailed inspection before first use and then at least every six months or after circumstances which might jeopardize safety have occurred.
For equipment which is used regularly, it is suggested that the frequency of detailed inspections is increased to at least every three months, particularly when the equipment is used in arduous environments.
It is normal practice for our engineers to undertake a detailed inspection of PPE in conjunction with the inspection of customers’ fall protection system. In doing so, we will certify a customers’ PPE for six months. This will typically mean that PPE will require an additional detailed inspection prior to our returning to your premises to undertake the annual inspection of your fall protection equipment - we offer a PPE postal inspection service to accommodate this.
The six month detailed inspection
There are a couple of options here – a customer can post their PPE to Eurosafe Solutions, which we inspect and return as soon as inspection is completed, for a minimum charge. Where PPE volume is such that this is cost prohibitive, or you require seven day a week PPE usage, we will gladly attend your premises to carry out the inspection.
- Interim Inspections
These are also comprehensive inspections that may be needed to supplement the pre-use checks and detailed inspections. Interim inspections will be required where the employers’ risk assessment has identified a risk that could result in significant deterioration, affecting the safety of the equipment before the next detailed inspection is due.
There are no hard and fast rules governing the lifespan of equipment, as this varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. This can cause confusion, which can be compounded by the fact that the actual lifespan of PPE is clearly dependent on its working environment, as well as frequency and duration of exposure. At Eurosafe Solutions, we work with you to maintain a PPE register on your behalf. We will ensure the relevant manufacturer’s lifespans are accounted for and the inspection regime is maintained.
Working at Height Rescue Equipment
Where a fall protection system exposes the user to a fall risk, there is a need to have in place a rescue plan. Reliance upon the emergency services is no longer deemed acceptable.
A variety of rescue systems are now available. They vary from those with a self rescue capacity, such as the Latchway Personal Rescue Device PRD – which through the deployment of a “parachute style rip cord allows the user to descend to a position of safety...through to the IKAR AB S3 WH20 rescue kit - where the casualty can be either raised or lowered by a third party to a position of safety.
In each case, there is a need for regular inspection under EN 341:2011 Personal Fall Protection Equipment; Descender devices for rescue. Our engineers are trained and qualified to undertake the inspection of all types of rescue equipment.