Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is defined as 'any device to be worn or held by an individual for protection against one or more health and safety hazards'. The regulations also apply to any system placed on the market in conjunction with PPE for its connection to another external, additional device.
Protective equipment is expected to be safe and fit for its stated purpose. Manufacturers, distributors, legislators and users alike demand this minimum expectation. The industry-wide commitment to responsible manufacturing is supported and governed by the Personal Protective Equipment Directive (89/686/EEC).
Before purchasing any PPE, specifiers should consult the "Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992". These contain 14 regulations for employers to consider as part of their pre-purchase risk assessment. Purchasing to a standard does not necessarily satisfy all of the requirements of Regulation 6 – Assessment of PPE.
The manufacturer must ensure that their products conform to either the relevant harmonised European standard, as transposed into a national (BS) or international (BS ISO) standard, or a technical specification deemed to be appropriate by a Notified Body, to meet the Basic Health and Safety requirements of the Directive.
BSI is actively involved in eight main areas of CE marking, Type Examination, Article 10, (test and certification) of PPE, namely hearing protection, respiratory protection, eye protection, head protection, protective footwear, protective gloves, protective clothing, and high visibility garments. Where required by the Directive the ongoing quality checking of the products, Article 11A or 11B, is also undertaken.
In addition to the CE marking activities, an independent test service is provided for products that do not fall within the scope of the Directive and Kitemark® quality assurance schemes are operated for many types of PPE.