Ergonomic Issues and Innovations in Personal Protective Equipment for Contaminated Sites Considering European Regulation 425/2016
The Regulation (EU) 425/2016 on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) repeals the Council Directive 89/686/EEC with effect from the 21st April 2018. Ergonomic aspects are stressed in this Regulation, becoming the basic principle of PPE design. Ergonomics has implications both for the comfort and the safety of workers.
In Italy the Leg. Decree 81/2008, the Code transposing the European Directives on the protection of workers’ safety and health, requires for PPE to consider ergonomic and health needs of the worker. The Technical Standard EN 13921 provides guidance on the generic ergonomic characteristics related to PPE while EN 547-3 provides some human body measurements which, although required for openings for whole body access into machinery, can be useful for PPE design.
Regulations, laws or Technical Standards do not exhaustively fulfill the ergonomic requirements, because they cannot take into account the individual characteristics of each worker in PPE design. This is one of the most critical aspects for the adoption of the principles of ergonomics to PPE.
The principle of ergonomics must be carefully evaluated for PPE to be used in contaminated sites, considering the specific risk for the workers (e.g. presence of hazardous pollutants) and working conditions (e.g. in confined space or intercepting groundwater). The aim of this work is to highlight the main ergonomic issues related to the use of specific PPE bearing in mind the new European Regulation. The present work will also illustrate how the use of smart-PPE in contaminated sites could implement workers’ safety fulfilling ergonomic principles.
KeywordsRegulation EU 425/2016 Personal protective equipment Workers’ safety Smart-PPE
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