Standards Explained

ISO 17065

The overall aim of certifying products, processes or services is to give confidence to all interested parties that a product, process or service fulfils specified requirements. The value of certification is the degree of confidence and trust that is established by an impartial and competent demonstration of fulfilment of specified requirements by a third party. Parties that have an interest in certification include, but are not limited to:

a) the clients of the certification bodies;
b) the customers of the organisations whose products, processes or services are certified;
c) governmental authorities;
d) non-governmental organisations; and
e) consumers and other members of the public.

Interested parties can expect or require the certification body to meet all the requirements of this International Standard as well as when relevant, those of the certification scheme.

ISO 17021

ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015 contains principles and requirements for the competence, consistency and impartiality of bodies providing audit and certification of all types of management systems.

Certification bodies operating to ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015 do not need to offer all types of management system certification.

Certification of management systems is a third-party conformity assessment activity and bodies performing this activity are therefore third-party conformity assessment bodies.

PPE Directive

The PPE Directive 89/686/EEC covers the manufacture and marketing of personal protective equipment. It defines legal obligations to ensure that PPE on the European market provides the highest level of protection against hazards. The CE marking affixed to PPE provides evidence of this protection.

As this is a ‘New Approach’ Directive, manufacturers or their authorised representative in the EU can comply with the technical requirements directly or with European Harmonised Standards. The latter provides a presumption of conformity to the essential health and safety requirements. The PPE guidelines aim to facilitate a common interpretation and application of the PPE Directive. It should be noted however that only the national transposition of the Directive is legally binding.

The consolidated text of the PPE Directive is available here.

New PPE Regulation (EU) 2016/425

As of 21 April 2018, Directive 89/686/EEC will be repealed by the new Regulation (EU) 2016/425 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 on personal protective equipment.

The new PPE Regulation is aligned to the New Legislative Framework policy. In addition it slightly modifies the scope and the risk categorisation of products. It also clarifies the documentary obligations of economic operators.

Machine Directive

Directive 2006/42/EC applies to machinery, lifting accessories such as slings and chains, and safety components. A machine is defined as “an assembly of linked parts or components, at least one of which moves…”. There are exclusions such as military equipment, machines which are already covered by other, more specific, directives and some equipment which falls within the scope of the Low Voltage Directive. The Regulations are enforced in the UK by the Health and Safety Executive for machinery used in the workplace, and the Trading Standards Service for machinery used at home. Penalties for non-compliant machinery can be severe.

The vast majority of machinery may be self-certified by the manufacturer who must meet the administrative and essential health and safety requirements of the Directive. The essential health and safety requirements demand that machinery suppliers identify the hazards their equipment contain and assess the risks these hazards present to users. Any risks identified must be reduced to as low a level as is reasonably practicable. Detailed requirements are laid out in a series of safety standards. The administrative provisions of the Directive require manufacturers to produce a Technical File, sign a Declaration of Conformity and label the product with certain markings.

Annex IV contains a list of approximately 25 types of machine which are subject to special procedures. These must either be made fully in accordance with the provision of the standard, or be subjected to type examination by a Notified Body.

Manufacturers of partly completed machines intended to be incorporated into another machine or which cannot function unless built into a production line must sign a ‘Declaration of Incorporation’. This basically states that the machinery is incomplete and must be made to fully conform with the requirements of the Directive before it is brought into service.

Fall Protection

All protection against falls from a height (except equipment only intended for rescue and some components permanently attached to a structure) must be CE marked, and is considered complex (category III) category to the PPE directive. CE marking is achieved by testing to an appropriate specification (in most cases, a European harmonised standard), in conjunction with assessment of documentation, and assessment of the ongoing conformity of the product. All three of these stages must be undertaken by a European notified body, such as Certified Conformity Ltd.

Testing of fall protection equipment is typically carried out on the whole product as presented for sale, although testing and approval of components (such as connectors) can be carried out where they are interchangeable between larger products. In addition, consideration must be paid to the whole system of fall protection, including components worn, components carried and / or operated, and the method of fixation to the structure. In most cases, a system of fall protection will be made up of several component products, each one CE marked in its own right, meaning that the end user will need to consider the compatibility of products as well as the manufacturer.

Any fall protection system needs to consider a number of factors, including:

  • the distance the user falls before being brought to a halt
  • the force applied to the user’s body throughout the arrest of the fall
  • the likelihood of introducing additional hazards, such as ‘swing-falls’ (or ‘pendulum effect’) or the striking of sharp objects
  • the possibility of rescue following a fall.

Although the distance the user can be allowed to fall will vary depending on the environment in which the product is being used (nominally the distance to the ground), the force which can be applied to the user is limited throughout Europe to 6 kN. This limit is evident in most fall protection standards, either in terms of requirements, or the basis for the tests themselves.

Harnesses intended to hold the user in place and spread the load in the case of a fall arrest scenario (i.e. being brought to a stop following a period of free-fall).

Dynamic Performance

Harnesses are subject to a performance test, intended to apply a shock load on the harness, exceeding that likely to be experienced in use. In addition, the test will give an indication of the behaviour of the harness when used, in particular the angle at which the user will be held in the event of a fall.

The harness is fitted to a 100 kg solid torso dummy, and connected via the harness attachment to a 2 metre length of 11 mm mountaineering rope (specifically chosen to generate a known force to the harness in the case of a fall). This rope is attached to a solid anchor point, and the dummy released over a distance of 4 metres. This test is carried out twice on each harness attachment, once from a head-up position, once from a head-down position (i.e. with the dummy upside down on release). In order to pass the test, the harness must hold the dummy following both drops, with the dummy held in a position not exceeding 50° from the upright position. These tests are repeated on every attachment point on a harness.

Static Strength

Whole products are subjected to tensile tests, based on a factor of safety on the 6 kN expected in use. Harnesses are subject to a 15 kN tensile force applied in the upward direction, followed by a 10 kN force applied downward. Lanyards are subjected to either 22 kN or 15 kN applied between the attachment points, depending on the material used – an increased force as the lanyard is expected to be more exposed to ageing factors such as abrasion in use.

Tensile forces are usually applied and held for at least 3 minutes, to ensure the breaking strength of the product is in excess of the force specified by the standard.

Corrosion Resistance

Metallic components used in fall protection equipment are subjected to a neutral salt-spray test intended to prove a minimum resistance to environmental corrosion (specifically rust). Products are held within a sealed chamber, which is filled with a salt-water mist, which can induce rust in unprotected metals. Products are subjected to either 24 or 48 hours exposure and examined for rusting and function afterward.

Harnesses (or additional attachments on a full body harness) intended for use where free-fall is not used – in particular, work positioning / restraint and for use in abseiling or rope access.

Dynamic Performance

As with full body harnesses, work positioning and sit / abseil harnesses are subjected to a drop test to generate a shock load on the harness. However, commensurate with the end use, a lesser force is applied to the harness as the possibility of a period of free-fall is significantly less in use. Work positioning attachments are subjected to a 1 metre drop with a 1 metre length of rope, whereas sit harnesses are dropped over a distance of 2 metres with a 1 metre length of rope. In both cases, the harness is required only to safely arrest the fall of the test dummy following the drop.

Static Strength

Whole products are subjected to tensile tests. Belts, harnesses and lanyards are subject to a 15 kN tensile force. Tensile forces are applied and held for at least 3 minutes, to ensure the breaking strength of the product is in excess of the force specified by the standard.

Corrosion Resistance

Metallic components used in fall protection equipment are subjected to a neutral salt-spray test intended to prove a minimum resistance to environmental corrosion (specifically rust). Products are held within a sealed chamber, which is filled with a salt-water mist, which can induce rust in unprotected metals. Products are subjected to either 24 or 48 hours exposure and examined for rusting and function afterward.

Lanyards intended for use in connecting the attachment point of a harness to a suitable anchorage device. This type of lanyard is intended for use as a component of a larger system, which should include a shock absorbing element.

Static Strength

Whole products are subjected to tensile tests. Belts, harnesses and lanyards are subject to a 15 kN tensile force. Tensile forces are applied and held for at least 3 minutes, to ensure the breaking strength of the product is in excess of the force specified by the standard.

Lanyards intended for use in connecting the attachment point of a full body harness to a suitable anchorage device. The lanyard includes a shock absorbing element, intended to reduce the force applied to the user by gradually arresting the fall.

Dynamic Performance

Shock absorbing lanyards are subject to a drop test, intended to assess the performance of the lanyard in terms of its ability to arrest a fall within a maximum distance, whilst maintaining the force to a suitable maximum. In particular, the lanyard should not deploy (stretch, open, tear) beyond a maximum length of 1.75 metres, with a maximum force of 6 kN, following a fall using a minimum solid mass of 100 kg, dropped over a distance of twice the length of the lanyard.

Where energy absorbers are intended to be sold separately to the lanyard (i.e. as a component), they are extended with chain to a length of 2 metres, with the mass dropped over a distance of 4 metres.

Static Strength

Whole products are subjected to tensile tests. Energy absorbers are subject to a 15 kN tensile force. Tensile forces are applied and held for at least 3 minutes, to ensure the breaking strength of the product is in excess of the force specified by the standard.

Corrosion Resistance

Metallic components used in fall protection equipment are subjected to a neutral salt-spray test intended to prove a minimum resistance to environmental corrosion (specifically rust). Products are held within a sealed chamber, which is filled with a salt-water mist, which can induce rust in unprotected metals. Products are subjected to either 24 or 48 hours exposure and examined for rusting and function afterward.

Devices which contain a lanyard for attachment between a full body harness and a suitable anchorage device. In these devices, the lanyard can be of practically any length, and will retract (under a spring loaded mechanism) back onto a drum in the casing of the device. In the case of a fall, a braking device (or similar) will cause the drum to lock, arresting the fall of the user in as short a distance as possible.

Dynamic Performance

Retractable lanyards are subject to a drop test similar to that used for lanyards (using a solid 100 kg test mass, measuring arrest distance and arrest force). However, the drop height for this test is fixed at 600 mm, irrespective of the total length of the device. A clip is applied to the lanyard at 600 mm to prevent it being retracted back into the case, and allow a clear freefall. The lanyard should not deploy beyond a maximum length of 1.4 metres (essentially arresting the fall within 2 metres from the point of release), with a maximum arrest force of 6 kN.

Locking After Conditioning

In the case of mechanical devices, additional testing is required to ensure they are not adversely affected by environmental conditions. Devices are checked for their locking function (by dropping a mass of at least 5 kg) following conditioning to high temperature (50°C, 85 % relative humidity for at least 2 hours), low temperature (-30°C for at least 2 hours) and water (sprayed at 70 litres per hour for at least 3 hours). Optional testing following submersion in diesel oil or dust can also be included.

Static Strength

Whole products are subjected to tensile tests. Textile lanyards are subject to a 15 kN tensile force and metal to 12 kN. Tensile forces are applied and held for at least 3 minutes, to ensure the breaking strength of the product is in excess of the force specified by the standard.

Corrosion Resistance

Metallic components used in fall protection equipment are subjected to a neutral salt-spray test intended to prove a minimum resistance to environmental corrosion (specifically rust). Products are held within a sealed chamber, which is filled with a salt-water mist, which can induce rust in unprotected metals. Products are subjected to either 24 or 48 hours exposure and examined for rusting and function afterward.

Systems made up of a line or rail intended to be fixed (either temporarily or permanently) to a structure at top and bottom, on which a travelling device is attached. The user connects to this travelling device when climbing or descending – in the case of a fall, the travelling device should grip the line and arrest the fall.

Dynamic Performance

Guided type fall arresters are subject to a drop test using a 100 kg mass, dropped over the maximum distance the device will allow – essentially by raising the mass until the travelling device begins to slide up the cable or rail. The device should arrest the fall within 1 metre from the point of release, with a maximum arrest force of 6 kN.

Due to inadequacies in EN 353-1 (the presumption of conformity has been removed for this standard), additional drop testing is required on these systems to ensure that they operate as required during a fall. At SATRA this additional testing involves using a 100 kg articulated dummy, released from at least four different postures. In these tests, the dummy must be arrested in a safe manner within a distance of 2 metres.

Locking After Conditioning

In the case of mechanical devices, additional testing is required to ensure they are not adversely affected by environmental conditions. Devices are checked for their locking function (by dropping a mass of at least 5 kg) following conditioning to high temperature (50°C, 85 % relative humidity for at least 2 hours), low temperature (-30°C for at least 2 hours) and water (sprayed at 70 litres per hour for at least 3 hours). Optional testing following submersion in diesel oil or dust can also be included.

Static Strength
Whole products are subjected to tensile tests. Textile lanyards are subject to a 15 kN tensile force and metal to 12 kN. Tensile forces are applied and held for at least 3 minutes, to ensure the breaking strength of the product is in excess of the force specified by the standard.
Corrosion Resistance

Metallic components used in fall protection equipment are subjected to a neutral salt-spray test intended to prove a minimum resistance to environmental corrosion (specifically rust). Products are held within a sealed chamber, which is filled with a salt-water mist, which can induce rust in unprotected metals. Products are subjected to 24 hours exposure and examined for rusting and function afterward.

Systems made up of a line intended to be fixed (either temporarily or permanently) to a structure at the top only, on which a travelling device is attached. The user connects to this travelling device when climbing or descending – in the case of a fall, the travelling device should grip the line and arrest the fall.

Dynamic Performance

Guided type fall arresters are subject to a drop test using a 100 kg mass, dropped over the maximum distance the device will allow – essentially by raising the mass until the travelling device begins to slide up the cable or rail. The device should not deploy more (by movement of the travelling device, stretch in the rope or deployment of energy absorbing elements) beyond a maximum length of 1 metre, with a maximum arrest force of 6 kN.

Locking After Conditioning

In the case of mechanical devices, additional testing is required to ensure they are not adversely affected by environmental conditions. Devices are checked for their locking function (by dropping a mass of at least 5 kg) following conditioning to high temperature (50°C, 85 % relative humidity for at least 2 hours), low temperature (-30°C for at least 2 hours) and water (sprayed at 70 litres per hour for at least 3 hours). Optional testing following submersion in diesel oil or dust can also be included.

Static Strength

Whole products are subjected to tensile tests. Textile lanyards are subject to a 15 kN tensile force and metal to 12 kN. Tensile forces are applied and held for at least 3 minutes, to ensure the breaking strength of the product is in excess of the force specified by the standard.

Corrosion Resistance

Metallic components used in fall protection equipment are subjected to a neutral salt-spray test intended to prove a minimum resistance to environmental corrosion (specifically rust). Products are held within a sealed chamber, which is filled with a salt-water mist, which can induce rust in unprotected metals. Products are subjected to 24 hours exposure and examined for rusting and function afterward.

Systems made up of a line intended to be fixed (either temporarily or permanently) to a structure at the top only, on which a travelling device is attached. The user connects to this travelling device when climbing or descending – in the case of a fall, the travelling device should grip the line and arrest the fall.

Static Strength

Connectors are subject to a range of tensile strength tests, applied in several directions, depending on the type of connector. Where a connector has only one possible direction of loading (e.g. where one end of the connector is permanently attached to another component), loading is applied in only one direction. However, where foreseeable misuse could result in loading being applied in directions other than the ‘main’ direction, testing is required in both the major (length) axis and minor (width) axis. In addition, where connectors do not automatically lock on closure, testing is carried out with gate both locked and unlocked.

In the case of EN 362, tensile loads are applied and held for 3 minutes, whereas in EN 12275, the load is increased to the point where breakage occurs. Therefore, it is important when comparing products, to be aware of which standard the connector has been tested to.

Corrosion Resistance

Metallic components used in fall protection equipment are subjected to a neutral salt-spray test intended to prove a minimum resistance to environmental corrosion (specifically rust). Products are held within a sealed chamber, which is filled with a salt-water mist, which can induce rust in unprotected metals. Products are subjected to either 24 or 48 hours exposure and examined for rusting and function afterward.

Devices intended to form the interface between the fall arrest system (harnesses, lanyards, retractable lanyards etc.) and the structure. These can be in the form of single bolts, slings, deadweight devices or anchor systems (rails or cables). EN 795 classifies anchor devices in the following manner:

  • Type A – anchor device with one or more stationary anchor points, while in use, and with the need for a structural anchor(s) or fixing element(s) to fix to the structure
  • Type B – anchor device with one or more stationary anchor points without the need for a structural anchor(s) or fixing element(s) to fix it to the structure
  • Type C – anchor device employing a flexible anchor line which deviates from the horizontal by not more than 15° (when measured between the extremity and intermediate anchors at any point along its length)
  • Type D – anchor device employing a rigid anchor line which deviates from the horizontal by not more than 15° (when measured between the extremity and intermediate anchors at any point along its length)
  • Type E – anchor device for use on surfaces up to 5° from the horizontal where the performance relies solely on mass and friction between itself and the surface
Dynamic Performance

Anchor devices are subject to a series of drop tests carried out on the device fixed as intended, in every intended direction of use. This can often mean a series of tests with the device fitted to a number of different substrates. This can often mean testing on a very large scale, as devices need to be installed as it would be used (often fitted to sample roof surfaces or structures). The tests required are dependant on the class of the device.

Static Strength

Whole anchor products are subjected to tensile tests. These forces are usually between 12 kN and 18 kN depending on the type of anchor device. Tensile forces are applied and held for at least 3 minutes, to ensure the breaking strength of the product is in excess of the force specified by the standard.

Corrosion Resistance

Metallic components used in fall protection equipment are subjected to a neutral salt-spray test intended to prove a minimum resistance to environmental corrosion (specifically rust). Products are held within a sealed chamber, which is filled with a salt-water mist, which can induce rust in unprotected metals. Products are subjected to two periods each of 24 hours exposure, separated by a 1 hour drying period, and examined for rusting and function afterward.