PPE and CE Certifications: What You Need to Know

PPE, or personal protective equipment, is a phrase we’ve heard a lot this year – often referring to face masks, face shields and gloves. However, earplugs, as tools to protect hearing in industrial workplaces, are also included under the umbrella of PPE.

When it comes to hearing protection, there are plenty of products available that mitigate the damage loud noises can do to your hearing. But on an industrial scale, there are some requirements that must be met under EU law.

The main thing you need to ensure is that the products you consider are CE Certified. This means the piece of equipment complies with all health and safety requirements under the PPE Regulation 2016. Manufacturers should have their PPE tested to ensure it complies with the regulations. If it does, it can be marked with CE Certification.

What Are the Requirements of CE Certification?

Under EU law, a product must meet certain so-called ‘European Norms’ (ENs) to be awarded CE certification.The product must undergo standardized tests in officially approved testing environments, and then branded with the official CE mark, which explains exactly the type of protection it provides.If a product is CE certified, its packaging also has to meet certain standards to make sure the product itself can’t be easily damaged.

Hearing Protection Under the PPE Regulation 2016

The PPE Regulation 2016 sets out different levels of complexity for protective equipment. Under the regulation, hearing protection was upgraded from Category II PPE to Category III PPE. This means hearing protection devices are classed as complex PPE, because the equipment needs to protect the user from irreversible harm. In order to be compliant with the PPE Regulation 2016, products must be tested during manufacturing and constantly audited after production. Once the regulation came into force, all manufacturers of PPE were required to carry out additional testing of their products to ensure they were compliant.

After April 2019, all PPE products put into the market had to be compliant with the requirements of the PPE Regulation 2016. Ultimate Ear’s industrial hearing protection devices have been re-tested since the PPE Regulation 2016 was introduced and they are all compliant with the requirements of Category III Complex PPE.

Risks to Hearing in the Workplace

Some workplaces, like building sites or factories, are naturally loud, and employees need to be protected against the consequences of being subject to loud noises for long periods of time. Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is a gradual process that gets worse overtime, and cannot be reversed. This is the intermediate risk that employers need to consider when protecting their employees’ hearing. It’s also the main risk that should be considered alongside CE certified hearing protection devices.

So, when considering how to protect employees at work, it’s vital that employers look for CE certified products.

When Do Employers Need to Consider Hearing Protection for Employees?

The 2005 Hearing Protection Regulations set out the requirements for protecting employees from harmful noise in UK workplaces. There are several different levels in which hearing protection must be provided, ranging from lower protection (where earplugs are optional for employees), to maximum protection, where employees are required to wear hearing protection devices and noise limits are in place.

If you’re an employer, your main priority is the safety of the people who keep your business going. Once you have assessed the risk levels in the workplace, you need to make sure you’re choosing proper hearing protection that will keep your workers safe.

Make sure your hearing protection products are CE certified – and make sure you’re getting them from a responsible manufacturer.

Industrial Ear Plugs for Hearing Protection

Ultimate Ear’s Industrial Ear Plugs are all CE Certified. Since the PPE Regulation 2016 was introduced, we have carried out extensive testing of all our products to make sure they are compliant with Category III PPE. Our products are safe, reliable and regularly surveyed to make sure they are compliant with regulations.

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