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3rd PPE Lead Market Conference in Brussels welcomes 200 experts

The conference featured interesting speakers and a large audience of 200 participants from 23 countries representing the full PPE value chain.

21st November 2014

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Brussels

Protective, Clothing/​Footwear, Industrial

The topics discussed varied from evolving workplace health and safety policies, to regulation and standardisation, emerging technologies and market trends and the evolving needs of buyers, public procurers and end-users in the European and global markets.

The conference continued the traditions of the two preceding editions in 2008 and 2011, featuring interesting speakers and a large audience of 200 participants from 23 countries representing the full PPE value chain.

Regulatory developments

The first part of the conference was devoted to the overview of the regulatory developments and technology innovations affecting the PPE market. The European Agency for Occupational Health and Safety (EU OSHA) presented an inclusive review of the benefits and costs related to the investment in the occupational health and safety.

Representatives of the European Commission spoke about the status of the pending PPE directive revision and presented new opportunities of public procurement of innovation in the PPE sector. 

The EU co-financed Smart@Fire project was presented as an example of how to use pre-commercial public procurement to fund development of the smart firefighter gear of the future based on a sound end-user specification process, a thorough market consultation and a pooling of financial resources of procurement organisations from several EU countries.

New technology trends

Research centres and technology suppliers presented new technology trends in functionalised textile materials, sensor and other smart function integration, challenges and potential solutions for PPE recycling as well as more sustainable finishing and cleaning technologies.

The second conference day was dedicated to technical, standards and end-user issues in PPE applications such as heat and flame, ballistic, high-visibility, electrostatic and electric arc protection as well as food contact use.

A dedicated session organised by PPE procurers from the ENPROTEX network presented the results of a new study on the impact of contaminated PPE on the health of firefighters and how cleaning procedures and technologies can mitigate this underappreciated risk.

New initiatives

The Conference was concluded by a closing plenary devoted to the discussion on new initiatives for better collaboration between PPE manufacturers, service providers and end-users across Europe to jointly ensure adequate design and correct selection, use, care and maintenance of PPE, to carry out studies and research work together and to make use of the opportunities provided by European funding programmes and new ways of public procurement.

This conference, like its predecessors was co-organised by the leading organisations involved in the PPE sector in Europe – the European Technology Platform for the Future of Textiles and Clothing (Textile ETP), the European Apparel and Textile Confederation (EURATEX), the European Textile Services Association (ETSA), the European Safety Federation (ESF) and the Enprotex Foundation – European Network of Public Procurers of PPE.

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