Withdrawal from service and inspection of PPE

Along BGR 198 the operating time of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is dependent on the conditions of use where the information in the user manuals has to be considered. Under intense usage the maximum operation time usually will not be reached. Harnesses and ropes made of chemical fibres underlie a certain aging even without use, for example because of ultra-violet rays or other influences from climate and environment. Additionally the diluents in the textile material of the PPE can volatilise in time and the equipment can become brittle. This can lead to partly invisible damages of the material. 
Therefore PPE may not be confronted with influences which damage its safe condition. Influences such as the exposure to aggressive substances like acid, bases, cleaning agents, soldering fluids or oil, flying sparks or consistent extreme temperatures. The storage should be dry in room temperature protected from sunlight, preferably in bags or boxes in order to protect the equipment from sharp edges.
According to past experiences under normal conditions of usage the following service life can be assumed: under correct storage and a storage time of maximum two years, harnesses should be exchanged after eight years from their first use, ropes after six years from their first use. A maximum service life of ten years can be achieved if the equipment is allocated to one user who is not using it excessively, always handling it with care and who knows the usage history of the product.
It has to be considered, that the service life is calculated from the first use. A PPE product which has been stored up to one year by the manufacturer or the trader still has its maximum life span under correct storage.
To guarantee the safety of the user, harnesses and ropes need to be checked at least once a year by an expert (compare BGR 198). Furthermore additional inspections might be necessary if the products were exposed to negative external influences or if they were used excessively. The expert can be provided by the company itself if he gathers the necessary expert knowledge during seminars after BGG 906, which is offered directly from the manufacturer. During inspection of the PPE various damage symptoms need to be considered. A sight check covers visible damages such as contamination with colour or oil, damages of the material such as rope abrasion and damaged belt straps and readability of the label. Additionally all components of the equipment have to be checked for their operation. The inspection has to follow the guidelines of the manufacturer and needs to be documented.
Alternative to an independent inspection in the company all products can be sent directly to the manufacturer for inspection. All relevant inspections will be done and possibly necessary repairs will be compiled.

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