P as in Pirmasens. P for PPE. At the PPE Symposium, which celebrated its premiere on 5 July at the ISC Pirmasens, everyone who is anyone in the "PSA world" was represented. The Who's Who of the safety and occupational footwear sector, including representatives from industry and sales, but also last manufacturers and suppliers, came to the shoe city. 91 participants took advantage of the top-class symposium to expand their knowledge, as well as for active networking. "We think the event is excellent. The very complex topics are presented here in a condensed form. In addition, the PPE Symposium is a real industry get-together. Perfect for us," summarises Helmut Klug from W.L. Gore Associates on behalf of many of his colleagues.
The PPE Symposium is a joint project. It was realised in cooperation with ISC, PFI and HDS/L. Perfectly coordinated with the motto "Examine - Test - Certify", the organisers around ISC Head of Department Steffen Eichhorn succeeded in attracting renowned experts to inform the industry about the current requirements and changes in the field of personal protective equipment (PPE). PFI and ISC Institute Director Dr. Kerstin Schulte emphasised the importance of the event: "You can definitely call the PPE Symposium unique. Because only here do we offer you the unique opportunity to get up to date on the latest in standardisation, testing and certification at first hand, so to speak, and very competently." The importance of the event for the shoe industry was also made clear by Thorben Schütz from the German Shoe and Leather Goods Industry Association, HDS/L, in his welcoming address: "The great demand shows that manufacturers demand a great deal of information. In fact, every seventh shoe produced in Germany is a safety shoe."
Standards, testing, certification
Whats new? What changes and terminology do players in the safety and occupational footwear industry have to deal with today and in the future? The PPE Symposium provided valid information on this and many other questions. Ellen Wassmann, standards expert at the German Shoe and Leather Goods Industry Association, HDS/L, brought the industry up to date in her expert presentation. She informed about current changes, both in terms of standards, especially the important changes in EN ISO 20345 and EN ISO 20347, and changes in terminology.
Liselotte Vijselaar, standardisation officer and head of the physical laboratory at the PFI, explained the special requirements for safety and occupational footwear from the point of view regarding testing. In her first lecture, the expert went into special requirements for slip resistance, toe cap protection, abrasion tests of the soles and other technical requirements. The second part provided valuable information regarding the differentiation criteria of antistatic and ESD (electro static discharge).
Dr Markus Scherer explained the requirements of occupational and safety footwear from a certification point of view to his audience. The PFI certification expert is a member of EK 8 and Chairman of EK 8.7 He informed the participants about the validity of current certificates, re-certifications and new certifications as well as the labelling of footwear. Thereby he dealt in detail with the aspect of orthopaedic fittings, which is important for the safety shoe manufacturers.
The PPE Symposium met with an exceptionally positive response from all participants. Jörg van Elten, from Elten Sicherheitsschuhe, said on behalf of his colleagues: "The PPE Symposium is a meaningful and very informative event for the industry. We get the perfect update here on what has been passed in several years of standardisation work. Right to the point!"
A question and answer session with open discussion rounded off the PPE Symposium in the afternoon. Organiser Steffen Eichhorn thanked all participants and the speakers from PFI and HDS/L as well as his team for the excellent preparation. "The fact that the symposium runs so perfectly is due to the interaction of all factors and the excellent teamwork. I am really thrilled how well and numerously the event was received. It shows how much need for discussion and information the industry has. We at the ISC will continue to support you in expanding your know-how and the knowledge of your employees." The PSA Symposium marks the start of the upcoming "ISC PPE Expertise" seminars, which will delve into the challenging subject matter. The two-day seminars will start in November 2022. Registrations are now possible via www.isc-germany.de.