On the 21st April 2018, Regulation (EU) 2016/425 on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) came into force and replaces the old PPE Directive 89/686/EEC.


New PPE Regulations are in place in 2018. The first-ever PPE Regulations were introduced in 1992, as a result of the ‘new approach’ PPE Directive adopted by the European Council on 21st December 1989. These came into force in the UK on 1st January 1993, as the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992.

There is now new legislation that the European Union has issued for those importing, distributing, choosing or purchasing personal protective equipment in the UK, which was drafted in 2016. There are many sources for updates in legislation specifically about the individual’s wellbeing at work but the website, or even reading the legal journals yourself would give you all the details.

To save you time, we have studied the European Commission’s guidelines, along with the recommendations of the British Standards Institute (BSI), and have put the key points together for you in this easy to use guide.


New EU Regulations on PPE (EU) 2016/425 were published in March 2016 and came into force on 21st April 2018. The new legislation supersedes the old PPE Directive 89/686/EEC. In order to understand how your practices may be affected by the Regulations, we have broken this down for you.

For the purposes of this Regulation, the following definitions apply. ‘Personal Protective Equipment’ (PPE) means
Equipment designed and manufactured to be worn or held by a person for protection against one or more risks to that person’s health or safety.
1.a. Definitions:
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Products can include:
“Items of clothing or equipment which is required to reduce the risk of injury to the lungs, head, eyes, skin and body.” –

  • Protective Gloves (other than washing up gloves)
  • Protective Footwear
  • Chemical protective clothing (chemical protection suits, aprons)
  • High Visibility Clothing
  • Waterproof Clothing (for extreme conditions)
  • Flame Retardant and Anti-Static Clothing
  • Harnesses and lanyards (for fall arrest)
  • Respirators and other breathing apparatus
  • Ear defenders and other hearing protection
  • Head and face protection, including helmets and bump caps
  • Eye protection (goggles, spectacles, face visors)

Other special Regulations cover the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) (including lead and asbestos), and also Noise at Work, and Radiation.

Category 2 Changes

  • Hearing Protection has moved from Category II to Category III PPE.
  • Life Jackets have moved from Category II to Category III PPE.

Category 3 Changes

As per the original Directive from 1992, the new Regulations include a three-part system of classification.

  • A higher level of category (Category 3) has been assigned to the risks associated with harmful Noise at Work, high-pressure jets, knife/cut/stab safety and bullet wounds.

Other Changes

  • Bespoke PPE, and specially adapted PPE, are now be covered by the new Regulations.


The PPE Regulations cover all PPE that falls within the scope of the new law and you must comply. Advice from the HSE on what constitutes Personal Protective Equipment can be found at Also new is the focus on longer-term health-threatening hazards which are given more credence than in previous years. More legal matters about Health & Safety at work can be found at and on the European Commission’s website

  • The PPE Directive is changing to be brought in line with other Directives that have undergone changes in previous years. It is to be reactive to new technologies that have come into practice since it was published over 20 years ago. It is to allow for competition between companies to be fair, and for bespoke items to be covered. Each item of PPE must have a valid Declaration of Conformity or at least a link to where this can be obtained for all items. Member states and Notified bodies have a two-year window to transition into the new Regulations which were adopted on the 12th February 2016 and published in the Official Journal 20 days later.
  • Distributors must ensure that all relevant PPE bears the CE Mark and is accompanied by the appropriate instructions for use, and that information for use, storage and transportation of the goods does not interfere with their conformity.
  • Corrective measures should be taken if any risk is discovered, and reported to the relevant national authorities In the UK, it is the responsibility of the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) to enforce these Regulations. offers information about legislation specific to your industry and provides a searchable National Archives. For an opinion on EU initiatives and their effect on policy, The Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work (ACSH) is a committee of national experts who contribute to develop, implement and monitor EU legislation on health and safety at work.
  • It is the obligation of Importers that they shall place only compliant PPE on the market and for distributors to check appropriate labelling and be accompanied by the appropriate literature, or a link to the literature is included so you can be more assured of having the relevant reference information.


Any company manufacturing, importing and supplying Personal Protective Equipment is responsible for making the necessary information available to all who need it. This is in the form of product labelling, product standards, and links to information relating to the intended use.

The current PPE Directive focuses on the manufacturer’s compliance, whereas the new Regulations will be effective over the whole supply chain.

Any procurement professional organising PPE within your organisation should note that EC type-examination certificates issued under the existing Personal Protective Equipment Regulations, based on EC Directive 89/686/ EEC, will remain valid until 21st April 2023, unless they expire before that date. However, EC type certificates to the old Directive can only be issued up until April 2019.

You will, therefore, need to be aware of the changes that are now in place, to ensure that your PPE items remain compliant with the new Regulations.

Your PPE supplier should be preparing to get items tested in accordance with the new Regulation requirements. It is also important to note that all Category III PPE requires on-going surveillance through testing and/or factory auditing, to ensure consistency of manufacturing quality and compliance with the relevant product standards

You need to identify which items of PPE you have, and what standards they have been tested to. Being aware of what is different, will allow you to be better informed of what you are looking for in the PPE that you purchase in future.

Distributors need to be aware that parts of the Regulations will affect the supply of PPE on those products mentioned, and must be able to produce a valid Certificate of Conformity. Manufacturers must legally comply with the Regulations and may be asked by importers and distributors for assurance that items meet compliance. This requires a valid type-examination certificate to the new Regulations, from the dates specified.


“Hazchem Safety understands our responsibilities to you as our customer, and we welcome the regulations in view of protecting the safety of all individuals using PPE.”
~ Chris Shedden, Director.

Hazchem Safety promises to always include technical information if it is necessary; To always check our manufacturers comply; To make safety data sheets available for all technical products; To consistently check and update our compliance with these regulations.


Check the items you have which come under the heading of PPE from the list included here and if you are using/supplying products that fall within these specifications, that an on-going observation system is in place. Ensure you are in communication with your advisor at Hazchem Safety about any queries you have over your PPE.

We are open from 7am, and are always happy to discuss your immediate and long term needs for the good of the employee. A site visit can determine the protection required for your specific needs. Talk to Hazchem Safety today, on 01280 841 400.


Protect your environment, safeguard your workplace, and stay compliant with regulations. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services.