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Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Personal protective equipment (PPE) are products that the user can wear or hold, in order to be protected against hazards either at home, at work or whilst engaging in leisure activities. Statistics on fatal and major work accidents underline the importance of protection and prevention, for which personal protective equipment plays an important role.

EU legislation and PPE

The European Union has issued a number of legislative acts to improve health and safety at work and to ensure high quality PPE.

The PPE Directive 89/686/EEC covers the design, manufacture and marketing of personal protective equipment. It defines legal obligations to ensure that PPE on the EU market provides the highest level of protection against hazards. The CE marking affixed to PPE provides evidence of this protection.

As this is a 'new approach' directive, manufacturers or their authorised representative in the EU can comply with the technical requirements directly or with harmonised European standards. The latter provides a presumption of conformity to the essential health and safety requirements.

The consolidated text of the PPE directive is available here.

The PPE guidelines - version 24 August 2017 (2 MB) aim to facilitate a common interpretation and application of the PPE directive. It should be noted however that only the national transposition of the directive is legally binding.

New PPE Regulation (EU) 2016/425

As of 21 April 2018, Directive 89/686/EEC is repealed by the new Regulation (EU) 2016/425 of 9 March 2016 on personal protective equipment.

The new PPE regulation is aligned to the new legislative framework policy. In addition, it slightly modifies the scope and the risk categorisation of products. It also clarifies the documentary obligations of economic operators.

The regulation contains specific repeal, transitional and final provisions in Articles 46, 47 and 48. A Guidance document on the PPE transition from Directive 89/686/EEC to Regulation (EU) 2016/425 (FAQ document) is available, as a follow up to the workshop organised by the Commission on 16 November 2016 in Brussels, to ease the transition for all stakeholders.

See the new PPE regulation guidelines (1st edition - April 2018) (6 MB).

Guidance documents on transitional provisions are available as a common approach of the PPE working group members

Relevant information

'Recommendation for use' (RfU) sheets

These 'technical sheets for coordination' report the common position of the notified bodies – sector PPE – approved by the committee working group 'PPE'.

RfUs for the PPE Directive 89/686/EEC (valid until 20 April 2019):

RfUs for the PPE Regulation (EU) 2016/425 (valid from 21 April 2018):


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