PC information system for the selection of personal protective equipment

Project No. BIA 4056


completed 10/1993


There are numerous regulations and standards account of which must be taken when implementing Directive 89/656/EEC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the minimum requirements for safety and health protection of workers using personal protective equipment at work. So far, there was no exhaustive inventory of all equipment available in the market. Therefore, the user's indiviual requirements often played an subordinate role in the selection of PPE. The information and selection system is aimed to further the implementation of Directive 89/656/EEC by offering suitable selection approaches, based on the remaining workplace risks and on the individual circumstances of use.


The PC information system was realised in a two-step approach: The first part concerns a user and information level covering all types of personal protective equipment (PPE); this level gives an overview of all risks which must be covered by PPE, which are caused by PPE or due to the use of PPE. Checklists are offered for all types of PPE with the exception of hearing protection. These checklists do not only cover workplace-related risks, but also the individual circumstances of use. They serve to document remaining risks identified in the risk analysis on the one hand and to request offers from PPE suppliers on the other. The second part of the system contains subprogrammes for the selection of specific PPE on account of the workplace conditions. The module "Selection of hearing protection" was already completed. This subprogramme implements the recommendations from the relevant European standard EN 458 relating to the selection, use, servicing and maintenance of hearing protection . The latter includes ergonomic and occupational medical criteria, and it also takes account of the individual user wishes. The programme is fed by a database containing only EC-type tested products in accordance with the applying EC Directive 89/686/EEC.


A PC information system was developed to provide companies and occupational health and safety institutions in the European Union with quick information on the correct choice of suitable personal protective equipment. The available selection module for personal hearing protection helps to identify the product whose noise damping characteristics suit the given noise situation best (level and spectrum), i.e the product which - when correctly employed - provides sufficient protection without limiting the user's communication too much. For the very first time it was possible to include in a selection programme the multitude of ergonomic criteria affecting the design of work and workplaces. Selecting hearing protection up to the end product (addresses of manufacturers and suppliers are also indicated) is no longer a problem. In the future, the selection programme will be supplemented by further PPE-modules.


BIA-Arbeitsschutzsoftware, PSA Persönliche Schutzausrüstungen, PC-Auswahlprogramm, Modul 1: Gehörschutz. Erich Schmidt, Berlin. To obtain other language versions of this software please contact BIA.

Further informations:

Last Update:



Financed by:
  • Europäische Union - Generaldirektion V
  • Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
Research institution(s):
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitssicherheit - BIA
  • Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité (INRS)
  • Instituto Nacional de Seguridad e Higiene en el Trabajo - Centro Nacional de Medios Protección (INSHT-CNMP)

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

Lärm/Vibrationen, -Verschiedenes-


Persönliche Schutzausrüstung, Informationssystem, Arbeitsschutzorganisation

Description, key words:

Directive 89/656/EEC, personal protective equipment, selection, hearing protection