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The Directive applies to any device or appliance designed to be worn or held by an individual for protection against one or more health and safety hazards (as defined in the Directive).
This is wide and includes, for example, gloves, protective clothing, footwear, sunglasses, helmets and respiratory protective devices.
Intention of Legislation
To remove the need for documentation and testing for each individual European market. Manufacturers may CE mark their products only once to show compliance with the Directive.
The Personal Protective Equipment (EC Directive) Regulations 1992 (SI 1992/3139) (the Principal Regulations), which gave force to the Directive's requirements in the UK, entered into force on 1 January 1993 with an extended transitional period up to 30 June 1995 for compliance. Further amendments since then provide for changes to the CE marking to bring it in line with other similar directives. A further amendment was made recently in order to extend the PPE Regulations to cover powers of prosecution to be provided to the Trading Standards Departments and at the same time the existing amendments and Principal Regulations were consolidated into one document in the interest of providing clearer legislation.
The consolidated Regulations are now called "The Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002 (SI 2002 No. 1144)" and these revoke the Principal Regulations and the three existing amendments. A copy of these Regulations is available on OPSI website at the following address http://www.opsi.gov.uk/stat.htm.
Awareness and communication continue to be major problems across the EU for the smooth implementation of the Directive. Some of the problems identified are:
A review of the Directive involving Member States is going ahead.
Guidance / Further Information
A comprehensive Guidance booklet is available, and you can order a hard copy online via BERR Publications.
The Commission has issued guidance on the application of the PPE Directive entitled: "PPE Guidelines - Guidelines on the Application of the Council Directive 89/686/EEC of 21 December 1989 on the Approximation of the Laws of the Member States Relating to Personal Protective Equipment - 17 July 2006" which is available from the European Commission's website (PDF, 416 kB).
A list of UK Approved Bodies appointed by the Secretary of State is available from the right.
Further information, including lists of harmonised standards as published periodically in the Official Journal of the European Communities, is available from the European Commission's "Enterprise" website.
Contacts Angela Finch / Dennis Nathanielsz, Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, Bay 384, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET, Tel: 020 7215 1438 / 1573; Fax: 020 7215 2635.