Category 3 PPE

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is designed to provide workers with protection against one or more risks. It should only be used in conjunction with other risk elimination or reduction measures. The general provisions governing the design and use of PPE are laid down in the French Labour Code (article R.233-83-3).

Personal protective equipment (ear plugs, for example) is used in conjunction with collective protective equipment (a sound-proofing cover on a machine, for example). The term encompasses a broad range of equipment. The various categories include:

          > Head protection
          > Hearing protection
          > Eye and face protection
          > Respiratory protective equipment
          > Body protection
          > Protection of the upper limbs
          > Protection of the lower limbs

They are classified according to 3 categories based on the seriousness of the risks addressed.

CATEGORY 1 PPE: Minor risk, protects against superficial injuries and damage (mechanical, physical or chemical), knocks and vibrations that do not affect vital body parts and are not likely to cause irreversible damage, and protection against sunlight exposure.

CATEGORY 2 PPE: Major risk, protects against serious injuries and damage (mechanical, physical or chemical) and knocks affecting vital body parts that may cause irreversible damage.

CATEGORY 3 PPE: Life-threatening risk, protects against the risk of death.

The following items are considered to be Category 3 PPE: respiratory protective equipment and fall protection equipment (harnesses, snap hooks, quickdraws, etc.). Since April 2018, this category has also included hearing protection. They meet more stringent safety and design standards because they protect workers against life-threatening risks: CE assessment for certification and CE marking + year.
These equipment items must be checked before every use and must undergo a full inspection and servicing once a year.

NOTE: Portable gas detectors are not considered to be Category 3 PPE.


Respiratory Protection

Respiratory protection is essential to ensure workers can breathe properly if preventive solutions such as replacing hazardous substances or purifying the air do not provide sufficient protection.


In order to select the right type of respiratory protection, an in-depth study of the workstation needs to be carried out, resulting in a clear definition of the conditions of use, such as:


  •     Oxygen level
  •     Type of pollutants (gas, vapours, dust, etc.)
  •     Toxicity of the pollutants
  •     Worst-case-scenario concentrations of each type of pollutant in the air
  •     Occupational exposure limits (OELs) if appropriate
  •     Dimensions of the particles in the case of aerosols
  •     Physical activity of the user
  •     Duration of the work to be carried out
  •     Related risks (projection of fluids, fire, etc.)

Please refer to ED 6106 "Les appareils de protection respiratoire" (respiratory protective equipment) published in July 2017 by INRS (the French national research and safety institute) for a precise analysis.

 Link: How to select the right type of respiratory protection ?


Fall Protection Equipment

Fall protection equipment refers to all fall protection devices and their accessories: connectors and positioning systems (rescue and descent), anchors, lanyards, self-retracting lanyards, ropes, lifelines, straps, harnesses and so on.

Fall arrest systems are used to prevent workers falling to the ground if they have already started to fall. These systems include:


  •     Anchor devices
  •     Full-body fall-protection harnesses
  •     Connectors


WORK POSITIONING SYSTEMS (positioning and suspension systems are not designed to protect you in the event of a fall. Fall protection equipment must be used in conjunction with a work positioning system).
Equipment that allows operators to work safely at their workstation, leaving their hands free. It includes:

  •     Anchor devices
  •     Full-body fall protection harnesses with a restraint belt.
  •     Connectors (and a positioning lanyard).

Equipment used to prevent workers from reaching a point from which they may fall. It includes:

  •     Anchor devices.
  •     Restraint belt or full-body fall protection harness.
  •     Connectors (restraint lanyard).

WORKING AT HEIGHT / SUSPENSION EQUIPMENT (work positioning and suspension devices are not designed to protect you in the event of a fall. Fall protection equipment must be used in addition.)
Enables operators to work with both feet off the ground, leaving their hands free. Suspension equipment includes:

  •     Anchor devices
  •     Full-body fall protection harness.
  •     Two ropes: 1 fitted with a descender and the other with a rope grab.