16 June 1995


no safety guarantee

THE NEW "CE" quality assurance mark on protective clothing provides no guarantee of safety.

The CE mark is part of a European directive which comes into force on July 1 this year. It requires manufacturers of new personal protective clothing, used to protect people at work against chemicals, to meet essential safety requirements set out in the directive.

But according to Kimberley Clark, which manufactures a protective suit carrying the CE mark, it does not offer farmers any guarantee that the suit will protect them in all their uses of chemicals, especially OP sheep dips.

Technical manager of Kimberley Clark, Paul Raby said that farmers should definitely not assume that just because protective clothing carries the CE mark that it necessarily protected them. He stressed that it depended on what jobs a farmer was using the clothing for. The mark was of little or no use for farmers, he admitted.

Mr Raby explained that the CE mark simply meant that an item of protective clothing had passed a number of general tests, but none specifically relating to farming practices.

For dipping sheep Mr Raby said the suit protected the upper body from splashes. But he advised that heavy duty, impervious over-trousers should also be worn. He said the suit would not stand up to the pressure of the chemicals around the legs if the dipper leant on the sheep or held them against his legs.

"It could be very dangerous for a farmer to rely on the CE mark as a guarantee of protection, because the use he has for the equipment may be very different to the tests done to qualify for the mark."

New quality marks tailored to farming operations were being developed. But they would not come into effect for at least another two years, he added.

Shelley Wright