A pair of work trousers with a knee pocket – in connection with a knee cushion – is an item of equipment that has been designed and manufactured to be worn by a person as protection against one or more risks to their health or safety.1 As a result, it is defined as Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).
In accordance with article 18 and 19 of the regulation (EU) 2016/425 of the European Parliament and of the Council dated 9 March 2016 on personal protection equipment and for the repealing of the Directive 89/686/EEC of the Council, the manufactured PPE is subject to an EU Declaration of Conformity by the manufacturer. As a result, in Europe it is prohibited to make PPE available on the market without a declaration of conformity.
With the EU Declaration of Conformity, the manufacturer confirms that the product made available on the market by him complies with the basic health and safety requirements of all relevant European Directives, i.e. is conform with them.2 The EU Declaration of Conformity forms the basis for the CE marking of the corresponding product.
EN 14404:2004 + A1:2010 is a harmonised standard of the regulation (EU) 2016/425. According to EN 14404, knee cushions in connection with work trousers with knee pockets are classified as type 2 knee protection.3 Products of this type must be certified in accordance with the requirements described in the standard.
When products are made available on the market, exhibited or used for the first time in the framework of a business activity, then the requirements of the European regulation 2016/425 must be adhered to.4 According to this, a product may only be made available on the market when it complies with the relevant requirements and does not endanger the safety and health of persons or other legal assets.5
Additionally, the employer is responsible for the provision of suitable PPE.6 In accordance with the regulation on the safety and health protection during the use of personal protection equipment during work (German PPE usage regulation – PSA-BV), the employer may only select personal protection equipment and make this available to the employees when this equipment complies with the requirements of the regulation on the placement of personal protection equipment on the market.7
Therefore, workers that perform work while kneeling must be provided with suitable protective equipment (PPE). The PPE is only suitable when it has been certified in accordance with the requirements of EN 14404.