New PPE Rules – Do They Affect You?

THE NEW regulations about personal protective equipment (PPE) come into effect from 21 April 2019.

The Regulation (EU) 2016/425 of 9 March 2016 on personal protective equipment was actually introduced in 2018, but is now coming fully into force on 21 April 2019, replacing the PPE Directive 89/686/EEC. However, products can be certified under previous regulations if they don’t change design or manufacturer, during the transition period until 21 April 2023, or until their old certificate runs out.

The new regulations introduced three classes of PPE – category I, II and III – for minimal, intermediate and complex (risk of death) protective equipment. Each category has defined tests which safeguard the quality and suitability of PPE for a range of categorised tasks.

For example, hearing protection is moved from Category II (Intermediate PPE) to Category III (Complex PPE). This means that it is now subject to stricter test conformity procedures and ongoing monitoring.

But do the changes affect you as an end user?
In the main, these changes affect manufacturers of PPE, who now need to possibly re-classify and re-certify their products, as well as suppliers and distributors in the supply chain.

The new PPE Regulation does not stipulate any duties directly for end users.

However, anyone who is responsible for specifying, choosing and purchasing PPE needs to check that products are compliant. A CE mark is an assurance that products are suitable, however, a Declaration of Conformity from the supplier will show more detail.

The new Regulation makes ALL those in the supply chain responsible for conformity: manufacturer, supplier and distributor, so your supplier should definitely be able to show you a Declaration.

Employers providing PPE should still comply with the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 which are not changed by this Regulation.

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