The value of periodic inspections of protective equipment
In every company, mandatory periodic inspections must be carried out regularly on protective equipment. However, it is not always clear what these checks are, what their purpose is and who should do them. If these checks are not carried out, there are dangers for the workers. That is why it is essential to have these checks done by professionals.
What do they consist of?
Periodic checks (monthly, annually, etc.) are in addition to the checks performed by the PPE users themselves. Indeed, users must constantly check the good condition of their equipment. This is mandatory and is written into the Labor Code.
Periodic checks must be carried out by competent and authorized persons.
What is their objective?
The objective of these checks is to ensure the reliability of the I.P.E. in order to guarantee the safety of the users.
Who should do them?
As previously stated, the verification must be done by a qualified professional.
The audit will be done in 3 main steps:
- A visual check of the equipment: fastening elements
- A test in real conditions, to ensure the correct operation of the adjustment and/or closing elements
- A report for any verification performed, including the results of the elements verified but also citing those that could not be verified
How to define the dates of periodic verifications?
The company must have its equipment checked as soon as it is put into service. Indeed, before any use, they must ensure the proper functioning of the equipment and ensure the safety of the workers. Then, the frequency of the verifications will depend on several things:
- the type of device
- frequency of use
- the nature of the activity
Manufacturers' recommendations should also be followed.
Regardless of the type of equipment and how often it is used, it is recommended that it be checked at least once a year.
An order of March 19, 1993 sets "the list of personal protective equipment that must undergo the periodic general inspections provided for in Article R. 233-42-2 of the Labor Code":
- self-contained breathing apparatus for evacuation purposes
- breathing apparatus and complete equipment intended for accidental interventions in hostile environments
- inflatable life jackets
- personal protection systems against falls from height
- stocks of anti-gas filter cartridges for respirators
Source : Francital environnement
The periodic check must take into account :
- the general condition of the equipment
- its proper functioning
- the concordance / connectivity of the equipment between them
- the safety of the user
- the respect of the verification dates
Attention ⚠️ It is necessary to know that the gas detector is not a PPE strictly speaking, but a safety equipment. This one aims to protect its user, that is why it is also very important to control it regularly, and to carry out a periodic verification according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
The dangers & the legal framework
Obviously, the main danger is for the users (staff, customers, etc.) and the possible malfunctioning of the equipment, which can lead to accidents. Moreover, in case of an accident, if the mandatory periodic inspection has not been carried out, there is a strong risk that the insurance company will not cover the damage.
But it is important to know that there is also a risk of sanctions in case of an inspection in the company. In the event of an inspection, if it turns out that periodic inspections have not been carried out in accordance with the rules, the inspector can impose a verification of the equipment within a limited period.
What the Law Says:
In case the company does not comply with a verification required by law or regulation, the company will be fined a minimum of 3750€. In addition, the person in charge of the company (director, manager, president, etc.) may be held responsible in case of an accident involving injury or death. The penalty can be up to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of 75,000 euros.
Calling on a professional
In order to establish the control of the equipment, it is necessary to call upon specialized companies, control organizations or qualified technicians. They must be trained in the risks involved in these inspections, and authorized by the manufacturers to work on the equipment.
For each equipment control in a company, it can be judicious to use traceability labels, also called "calendar tags". These labels are a real time saver, because they indicate the date of the last control and/or the validity deadline of the control. These labels are then affixed to the equipment that is inspected.
Guarantee the proper functioning of its equipment
In addition to the periodic checks performed by authorized professionals, it is essential for each worker to put into practice the manufacturers' recommendations. By regularly checking the condition of his equipment, the user will avoid abnormal wear and tear and reduce the risk of accidents. To do this, the user must frequently check the visual condition of his equipment, as well as its efficiency. If it is a fall protection device, such as a harness, the user should check the condition of the fabrics and metals.
It is mandatory for professionals to follow the manufacturer's recommendations regarding the frequency of inspection and calibration. As previously stated, these periodic checks are mandatory and necessary to ensure the proper functioning of the equipment and guarantee the safety of the users.
To keep your equipment in good condition, it is also important to be extremely vigilant about cleaning it!
Learn more about the maintenance of your equipment
Learn more about washing and disinfecting contaminated PPE
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Why check and maintain your fall protection equipment?