Customs and the Safety and Chemicals Agency find numerous defects in intensified controls of personal protective equipment
In autumn 2017 and at the turn of the year, Customs and the Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) carried out intensified controls of personal protective equipment meant for the consumer market. The controls focused on protective equipment used in sports, and on eye protection equipment used for fireworks. Customs carried out controls of import consignments of protective equipment in cooperation with the Safety and Chemicals Agency. Customs authorities observed defects in almost half of the consignments that contained personal protective equipment.
Results of the cooperation of Customs and the Safety and Chemicals Agency
Items on which the control cooperation of the authorities focused on included ski helmets, ski back protectors, protective equipment for motorcyclists, swim goggles and protective eyewear. The authorities checked the products for CE markings and user instructions in Finnish and Swedish. Customs authorities also asked importers to present the relevant documents on the products. Customs intercepted consignments suspected of containing personal protective equipment meant for the consumer market that fell under the scope of intensified controls. Customs checked nine consignments that contained 1-16 personal protective items of different types. Four of the consignments involved defects. Consignments that did not have CE markings or an EC certificate of conformity were not allowed to enter the market.
Results of market surveillance by the Safety and Chemicals Agency concerning personal protective equipment meant for the consumer market
In 2017, the Safety and Chemicals Agency implemented a market surveillance project that focused on CE markings and documents. The Safety and Chemicals Agency inspected 37 personal protective items, ranging from cut-resistant fish processing gloves, volleyball knee pads, motorcycle knee pads, and reflectors to wetsuits meant for use in surface water sports. The Agency requested manufacturers and importers to present documents on personal protective items in cases where authorities visited stores and noticed deficiencies in CE markings, and in cases where personal protective items did not comply with requirements as notified to the Agency. Authorities noted the following defects in the personal protective equipment they inspected:
– EC type examination certificate missing (73 %)
– EC certificate of conformity missing (73 %)
– CE marking missing (68%)
– User instructions missing (57%)
Altogether 68 % of the inspected personal protective items were removed for the market based on lacking CE markings and documents.
Manufacturers, importers and distributors are responsible for the conformity of personal protective equipment
Personal protective equipment must at least bear a CE marking, the name and address of the manufacturer or their authorised representative based in the European Economic Area, as well as user instructions in Finnish and Swedish. In autumn 2017, the Safety and Chemicals Agency and Customs released information on the requirements concerning personal protective equipment meant for consumer use (link in Finnish).
The provisions on personal protective equipment will change and the new EU regulation on personal protective equipment will enter into force in April 2018. The regulation provides for the obligations of economic operators. Economic operators refer to manufacturers, authorised representatives, importers and distributors. In line with their tasks involving the transport chain, economic operators are responsible for ensuring that personal protective equipment brought to the market comply with regulations. Further information on the EU regulation on personal protective equipment is available in Finnish on the Safety and Chemicals Agency website.
Cooperation in controls of personal protective equipment
The Safety and Chemicals Agency is the market supervision authority for personal protection equipment meant for consumer use. Customs has the task of supervising the importation of products and ensuring with market surveillance authorities that import products comply with safety requirements. The entry of the products to the market can be postponed for the duration of closer examinations. If any products are found to be non-compliant with regulations, their import is denied.
Customs supervises the safety of certain consumer goods also through its own controls which are based on the Finnish Consumer Safety Act and on the competence accordant with the Finnish Chemicals Act.