Personal protective equipment
The different national provisions need to be harmonised in order to ensure the free movement of personal protective equipment (PPE). This directive is based on the principles of the "New Approach to Technical Harmonisation and Standards". In line with this new approach, the design and manufacture of PPE is subject to essential user safety requirements.
This directive covers personal protective equipment (PPE). It lays down the conditions governing its placing on the market and free movement and the basic requirements which PPE must satisfy in order to protect the health and ensure the safety of users.
Member States must adopt measures to ensure that PPE placed on the market protects the health and ensures the safety of users, without prejudice to the health or safety of other individuals, domestic animals or goods.
Definition and scope
PPE is any device or appliance:
- designed to be worn or held by an individual for protection against one or more health and safety hazards;
- designed for both professional and private use (sport, leisure, household use).
The Directive does not apply to:
- PPE covered by another directive designed to achieve the same objectives as this Directive with regard to placing on the market, free movement of goods and safety;
- PPE designed and manufactured for use by the armed forces or in the maintenance of law and order;
- PPE for self-defence;
- PPE intended for the protection or rescue of persons on vessels or aircraft, not worn all the time;
- Helmets and visors intended for users of two- or three-wheeled motor vehicles.
In line with the principles of the "New Approach to Technical Harmonisation and Standards", the design and manufacture of PPE is subject to essential health and safety requirements.
The essential requirements that must be met by PPE during manufacture and prior to being placed on the market are:
- the general requirements applicable to all PPE;
- the additional requirements specific to certain types of PPE;
- the additional requirements specific to particular risks.
Harmonised European standards are drawn up by the European standardisation bodies on the basis of the essential requirements. These bodies are the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation (Cenelec).
Any PPE manufactured in accordance with harmonised standards is presumed to conform to the essential requirements covered by the standards concerned.
Conformity assessment and notified bodies
Assessment of the conformity of PPE with the essential requirements and other provisions of this Directive is the responsibility of:
- either the bodies notified by the Member States in accordance with the minimum assessment criteria;
- or the manufacturers themselves.
Declaration of conformity and "CE" mark
Member States may not prohibit, restrict or hinder the placing on the market or entry into service of PPE that bears the EC mark for which:
- the manufacturer is able to produce an "EC" declaration of conformity;
- for PPE which protects against minimal risks, conformity is attested by the manufacturer himself by means of the EC declaration of conformity;
- all other PPE should be subject to an EC type-examination by a notified body;
- some items of PPE which protect against very serious risks are also subject to a procedure aimed at ensuring conformity to production type.
The "CE" conformity mark is affixed by the manufacturer or his representative established in the European Union.
|Act||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
|Directive 89/686/EEC||1.7.1992||31.12.1991||OJ L 399 of 30.12.1989|
|Amending act(s)||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
|Directive 93/68/EEC||1.1.1995||1.7.1994||OJ L 220 of 30.8.1993|
|Directive 93/95/EEC||29.10.1993||29.1.1994||OJ L 276 of 09.11.1993|
|Directive 96/58/EC||8.10.1996||1.1.1997||OJ L 236 of 18.9.1996|
|Regulation No 1882/2003||20.11.2003||-||OJ L 284 of 31.10.2003|
Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 89/686/EEC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference purpose only.
- Further information is available on the European Commission Enterprise DG website on personal protective equipment