Brussels, 27 March 2014
Personal protective equipment and cableway installations – simpler legislation, putting safety first
The European Commission today proposed to replace two EU directives governing the safety of personal protective equipment and cableways installations by directly applicable regulations. This means that 56 pieces of national legislation - piling up to several hundred pages - will be scrapped, as part of a concrete step by the Commission to make it easier to conduct business in the EU. The intention is that businesses will only need to consult one single piece of legislation in each area, which will also be available in their own language. It will make life easier for companies marketing industrial products in the EU market while at the same time ensuring that the legislation continues to guarantee a high level of safety. The proposal will help ensure that products marketed as safeguarding the user against certain risks - e.g. "this product protects against heat of up to 100°C" - fulfil their claims. The two regulations proposed cover a very wide range of products designed for both consumers and professionals, including bicycle helmets and cable cars.
European Commission Vice-President @AntonioTajaniEU, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship, stated: "More coherent rules for personal protective equipment and cableway installations will lower businesses' compliance costs, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises. Companies doing business in the EU would be able to refer to one single legal text. This is a concrete deliverable within our agenda to cut unnecessary burden created by legislation."
Personal protective equipment and cableways
Examples of personal protective equipment (PPE) are safety helmets, ear muffs, safety shoes, life jackets but also bicycle helmets, sunglasses and high-visibility vests. Cableway installations are mainly lift systems, such as funicular railways, aerial ropeways, cable cars, gondolas, chairlifts and drag lifts, which are designed to transport persons. They are used in high-altitude tourist resorts or in urban transport facilities.
Keeping up with technological progress and buying patterns
The proposal relating to PPE includes changes to increase safety for personal protective equipment for private use which provide protection against heat, damp and water. It widens the scope of the laws governing PPE to include PPE for private use in addition to those for purely professional use, thus including mass produced PPE available to all customers. The modernised law will help ensure that products that claim to protect the user against certain risks keep their promises (for example, product protects " against heat up to 100°C", "against UVA/UVB rays", "against noise", "against cutting by hand-held chain saws", "against high pressure cutting" etc.). Furthermore it makes it easier for companies producing made to measure PPE to adhere to conformity assessment procedures.
The proposal for cableways installations will improve the functioning of the EU's internal market for the safety components and the subsystems of cableway installations. Taking into account technological progress in this area, the proposal covers the development of new installations intended for both transport and leisure activities. However, cableways for purely leisure purposes (for example those in amusement parks and fair grounds) are exempt.
The two proposals are part of a general initiative to simplify and align the legal requirements applying to industrial products marketed in the EU, which will cut red tape for businesses by eliminating conflicting or overlapping requirements for products governed by more than one piece of legislation. In line with the Commission’s objective to simplify legislation and reduce administrative burden for companies in the EU, the proposals intend to replace the current directives by regulations. As EU regulations are immediately applicable in EU countries, this eliminates the need for national legislation previously needed to incorporate or "transpose" relevant EU Directives into national law.
The Commission recently also proposed to simplify rules in another 10 industry sectors implementing the New Legislative Framework. For more information please see:
IP/14/111 - Administrative burden will be slashed in eight industry sectors
IP/14/261 - Proposal to update radio equipment rules