Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) Regulation 2016


Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is defined as ‘all equipment (including clothing affording protection against the weather) which is intended to be worn or held by a person at work and which protects the user against one or more risks to their health or safety.’

Regulation (EU) 2016/425 has repealed and replaced Council Directive 89/686/EC on Personal Protection Equipment. The new Regulation has been implemented to ensure that the PPE used in the industry, reflects the changes in the manufacturing and technology of Personal Protection Equipment since the original directive was adopted in 1989.

This new Regulation relates to the whole supply chain (Importers and distributors), rather than just manufacturers and it should not be confused with the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 that places duties on employers with regards to the provision of PPE in the workplace.

The supply chain has until April 2018 before the Regulation comes fully into force however the transition period has now started.

The main changes that are highlighted:

  • A declaration of conformity will be supplied with every item of Personal Protection Equipment that is placed on the market. This can be in the form of a hard copy or a link to a webpage where it can be obtained.
  • The following PPE will be re categorised:
PPE 1989 category 2016 category
   Hearing protection 2 3
   Life jackets 2 3
  • Compulsory maximum five-year conformity certificate validation.
  • The whole supply chain is covered (importers and distributors), rather than just manufacturers.
  • Bespoke Personal Protection Equipment covered in the Regulation.

As an employer who is providing Personal Protection Equipment to your employees and visitors, your familiarity of the new Regulation and what is now expected of the supply chain will ensure that you are familiar with the requirements and will be rest assured that the PPE you are providing is fit for purpose.

Key dates

21st April 2018

  • PPE Directive 89/686/EEC is repealed and replaced with PPE Regulation (EU) 2016/425.

21st April 2019

  • By this date, all Member States shall ensure that all products covered by the old PPE Directive are no longer made available on the market.

21st April 2023

  • Unless expired before this date, all EC type-examination certificates issued under Directive 89/686/EEC shall no longer be valid