PPE Directive changes

PPE RegulationIn the Personal Protective Equipment world (PPE), our main focus at the moment is guiding clients through the changes that are occurring as the PPE Directive changes into a Regulation in April 2018. The PPE Directive 89/686/EEC is currently a fundamental piece of European legislation relating to occupational safety throughout Europe. The PPE Directive was one of the first new approach directives and is now over 20 years old! In order to reflect current technologies and processes for developing and bringing PPE to the market, it is being updated. It is also important to bring it in line with other directives that have undergone a revision in recent years.


The changes mean that the old Directive will lose its current status, and now be re-implemented as a Regulation. This means that the new Regulation will not have to be transposed into each member state's national law. A directive is a legislative act that sets out an objective that all EU countries must achieve by a given date. It is up to the individual countries however, to decide how this is done. In contrast, a Regulation is a binding legislative act and it must be applied in its entirety across the EU without the need for separate national legislation.


The main changes to be aware of:

  • The PPE Directive will be replaced by a Regulation in April 2018
  • A number of types of protection will move from category II (intermediate) to category III (complex) such as hearing protection and life jackets
  • There will be a requirement for manufacturers to supply a declaration of conformity with every item of PPE that is placed on the market
  • A five-year certificate of validity is being suggested, bringing the Regulation in line with other similar European requirements


The PPE Regulation is mandatory - covering any type of product that falls within its scope. It is a legal requirement for anyone involved in the PPE industry to comply. Previously, the PPE Directive focused on manufacturers placing products onto the market, but the new Regulation requires the whole supply chain to be involved. This means that when the regulation comes into force, importers, distributors, or anyone in the supply and distribution chain should take appropriate measures to ensure that any PPE meets the standard requirements, and that only products which comply with the new Regulation are made available on the market.

Nathan Shipley


Author: Nathan Shipley

Certification Team Manager - PPE, EMEA