CE markings on PPE
Is the CE marking mandatory? In Europe, all products covered by a European regulatory text (a regulation or directive) must bear the CE (European Conformity) marking. For personal protective equipment, EU regulation 2016/425 (formerly the 89/686/EC directive) regulates the manufacture and marketing of fall protection PPE.
October 31 2019
Rope access and confined space
What is the purpose of the CE marking?
The CE marking reflects the manufacturer's commitment to comply with European legislation and is mandatory for placing a product on the common market. It does not mean that the product comes from the European Union. It allows the product to be marketed and sold anywhere within the EU.
How do PPE manufacturers obtain the right to place the CE marking on their products?
To obtain a CE marking, PPE are required to meet the essential health and safety requirements of EU regulation 2016/425.
These requirements cover such aspects of the product as ergonomics, comfort, safety, weight, and strength, although they do not provide any specific values. Only the various ‘harmonized’ standards define with greater precision any construction and performance requirements, as well as the information/markings that must accompany the product. Each standard covers a well-defined field of application.
There are two cases for PPE:
PPE with a field of application that is covered by one or more existing harmonized standards.
PPE with characteristics or a field of application not covered by any standard.
In both cases, the manufacturer engages an independent notified body to conduct an EU type assessment. It is this assessment that provides authorization to use the CE marking.
What is an EU type assessment?
The EU type assessment is the part of the conformity evaluation procedure where a notified body assesses the PPE 's technical design to verify and attest that it meets the requirements for all current applicable regulations.
The PPE meets existing standards.
The EU type assessment is based on compliance with the standards requirements the product claims to meet.
The PPE does not meet (or only partially meets) a harmonized standard.
This can happen, for example, when a product targets a new use not yet covered by existing standards, or if the product’s features are covered by several different standards without full compliance with any single standard. The manufacturer then submits technical specifications to the notified body to define the specific requirements (e.g. tests or technical information) either within or outside existing standards. It is the notified body that examines and approves the technical specifications.
The EU type assessment is based on compliance with the essential health and safety requirements of EU regulation 2016/425 as well as specific requirements approved by the notified body.
There is no existing standard that covers a device like the ZIGZAG. The ZIGZAG’s functions simultaneously address the standards for rope clamps and for descenders, with the specificity of using a doubled rope.
These devices are covered by EN standard 12841, which defines three types:
- Type A for backup belay devices,
- Type B for rope clamps,
- Type C for descenders.
To approve the ZIGZAG, the notified body in charge of certification decided to use the most relevant test protocols for types B and C as defined by this standard.