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New EU Regulations on Laser Safety Eyewear

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Regulation

Brexit is not with us yet. Back in 2016, the EU repealed its 20 year old PPE directive and replaced it with a new PPE Regulation (EU) 2016/425. This change came into place on April 21 this year and it   imposes new conditions upon manufacturers and suppliers of PPE in Europe. These conditions could also affect those companies and individuals that buy and use laser safety eyewear products.

What’s Changed?

Safety eyewear manufacturers must now mark the production date on their products along with the safety and protection specifications and CE mark. Given Notified Body Certification, they must ensure a Declaration of Conformity accompanies every order.

The new Regulation means that the dealer or reseller or “anyone intervening in the supply and distribution chain of PPE products” also has a part to play. To cover such persons or organisations, Regulation (EU) 2016/425 uses a new term – “Economic Operators”.

Laser safety eyewear

Under the Regulation, the reseller or Economic Operator is responsible for selling the correct products. They (we!) must make sure that you are purchasing exactly the right eyewear protection for your laser. In effect, this means you cannot order your eyewear out of a catalogue.

Muddy Waters

Under the new Regulation, manufacturers, importers and distributors are obliged to hold copies of PPE Technical Files, Product Type Examination Certificates as well as Declarations of Conformity and keep these records for at least 10 years.

They also have to supply user instructions – a manual – with each product. This manual must state the storage time for the product and its operational time.

In laser safety eyewear terms, this creates a considerable grey area for manufacturers, distributors and users.

For example, eyewear storage life is at the mercy of variables such as transportation, packaging and potential exposure to the sun’s UV rays.

Specifying an operational lifespan is dependent on a whole range of unknowns. For example, whether the glasses are treated with care, cleaned according to Instructions or used in a rough production environment as opposed to the laboratory.

Short Life or Long Disclaimers?

No matter what the variables, manufacturers and distributors still need to conform to the new Regulation and give storage and usage times. For users, this could mean looking at a vastly reduced working life from your safety eyewear or being faced with a very long list of disclaimers to read through.

You have been warned!

With our Safety Glasses and Safety Windows wizards, you can be sure of selecting the right protection for your laser. However, if you’re not entirely sure of your laser’s specifications or have any questions or queries regarding laser safety, please contact