The safety of dry suits must be ensured before placing them on the market
Dry suits are classified as personal protective equipment that must meet European safety requirements. Before placing dry suits on the market, they must be submitted for EC type examination by a notified body which is authorised to grant products an EC type examination certificate. The manufacturer or its authorised representative must certify the conformity of the product by drawing up an EC declaration of conformity and affixing the CE marking on the protective equipment. Only safe dry suits that comply with the provisions of the relevant Directive are allowed to be placed on the market. The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health will be able to start EC type examinations of dry suits in April 2013. The Finnish Safety and Chemical Agency (Tukes) supervises the safety and conformity of personal protective equipment intended for consumer use.
Dry suits made of waterproof materials (such as Goretex) are used by canoeists and sailors. A person fallen into water will stay dry and warm for longer if wearing a dry suit. Maintaining the ability to function for longer will help the person to rescue themselves.
Dry suits and other personal protective equipment are regulated by Directive 89/686/EEC on personal protective equipment which has been implemented in Finland by Government Decision 1406/1993 (in Finnish) on personal protective equipment. Personal protective equipment can be designed either for professional or consumer use. The latter must also meet the requirements of Government Decree 1101/2009 (in Finnish) set for personal protective equipment for consumer use. Tukes supervises the safety and conformity of personal protective equipment aimed at consumers. The safety of personal protective equipment designed for professional use is monitored by occupational safety authorities.
Under the Consumer Safety Act 920/2011 (in Finnish), it is the operator (manufacturer, importer, distributor, dealer) who is responsible for the safety and conformity of the product. Operators must have sufficient and correct information on the product, and they must assess all risks related to their product. Operators must be aware of any legislation and requirements related to the product before placing it on the market and ensure that the product fulfils all the relevant requirements. Consumer products that do not have the statutory CE marking may not be placed on the market.
Dry suit manufacturers or their authorised representatives located within the European Economic Area must immediately take all necessary steps to ensure that their dry suits fulfil the requirements set for personal protective equipment. Dry suits must be submitted to type examination by a notified body before placing the product on the market. The manufacturer or his authorised representative located within the European Economic Area must certify the conformity of the product by drawing up an EC declaration of conformity and affixing the CE marking on the protective equipment. All equipment must have appropriate markings, and they must include instructions of use in Finnish and Swedish or in the official language of the EEA state into which the equipment is being exported.
Notified bodies are conformity assessment bodies that are approved and supervised by EU Member States and authorised to carry out EC type examinations. The official data on notified bodies within the EU are published in the NANDO website administered by the European Commission. In Finland, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health is a notified body that tests and type examines personal protective equipment. The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health has announced that it will be able to start EC type examinations of dry suits in April 2013.
If Tukes becomes aware that a product may pose a risk to consumer safety, it will take steps to ensure that the risk is removed. Tukes will demand that operators withdraw any dangerous product from the market and inform the consumers of the risk appropriately. Moreover, dangerous products are listed in the Tukes market surveillance register and the European Union RAPEX system. From the beginning of 2014, Tukes will initiate measures to deal with any dry suits on the market that have not been type examined, do not carry the CE marking and have no EC declaration of conformity provided by the manufacturer.
For more information, please contact: Product Safety Engineer Katri Sihvola, Tukes, +358 29 5052 197, [email protected]