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Brussels bans climbers’ safety wedges?

February 2nd, 1995
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A Brussels Directive is responsible for making some of Britain’s most challenging rock climbs more dangerous overnight by banning ‘RP nuts’ used to limit falls.
(The Independent on Sunday, p.8, 2 February 1995)

‘Brussels’ should not be held responsible for this, for it was the Member States and not ‘Brussels’ which agreed to the Directive. This is particularly so as the relevant part of the EU Directive involved, in this instance dealing with equipment designed to protect people falling from height, such as Australian-made RP nuts, was agreed by every Member State with the exception of Italy.

Furthermore the Directive does not ban anything, but simply specifies the conditions under which Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can be put on the market.

The Directive provides for different testing procedures according to the gravity and irreversibility of the health risk. Its objectives are to make life easier for manufacturers by ensuring common certification procedures and safety testing for personal protective equipment placed on the EU market, replacing those tests undergone at a national level for each Member State, and to guarantee consumers a common standard of safety and quality. All PPE must bear a CE mark.

The Commission and Member States are aware that some conformity assessment procedures, especially those outlined in Category III below, are causing problems for manufacturers, and discussions are underway in order to try to find a solution which serves both the interests of industry and the necessary safety requirements.

Notes for editors:

Directive on Personal Protective Equipment (89/686/EEC);
-Category III: requires a declaration of conformity by the manufacturer after a notified body has both drawn up an EC type-examination certificate for a PPE model and carried out the quality control of the manufacturer’s production system.

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Please note that all statements in all entries were correct on the date of publication given. However, older archived posts are not systematically updated in the light of later developments, for example changes to EU law.

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