Member States regularly receive requests about the regulations applicable to clothing or accessories with fluorescent or retro reflective stripes with the general purpose to increase the visibility of wearer or holder.
Items like retro reflective workwear, fluorescent backpack (covers), reflective glove accessories and light sticks were involved.
Each time the issue comes up, it’s hard to decide whether or not the products are subject to directive 89/686/EC. Decisions where made on a case-by-case basis without a clear guiding principle.
This leads to an increase misunderstanding at manufacturers, importers and end users.
To overcome this uncertainty the French authorise propose that only clothing with reflective or fluorescent stripes completely encircling a body part should qualify as PPE and makes a clear distinction between PPE clothing and ‘ordinary’ clothing with just fluorescent or retro reflective components possible.
The French position has the advantage of being simple and enabling everyone to implement it easily and in exactly the same way.
The position is based on a strict interpretation of requirement 2.13 of Annex II of Directive 89/686/EC. Paragraph 2.13 deals with PPE in the form of clothing capable of signalling the user’s presence visually. Accessories providing visibility are not mentioned at all.
The consequences of adopting the French position is that visibility accessories no longer are legitimately CE marked and that the standard EN 13356:2001 (visibility accessories for non-professional use) must be withdrawn for the list of standards granting presumption of conformity with Directive 89/686/EC.