Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Directive

Scope of the PPE directive

The definition of PPE according to this directive is: Any device or appliance designed to be worn or held by an individual for protection against one or more health and safety hazards.

The objectives of the PPE directive are:

  • To provide the basic health and safety requirements which the PPE must satisfy to preserve the health and ensure the safety of intended users.
  • To ensure free movement of PPE within the European Community. The directive applies to each individual PPE that is intended to be placed and/or put into service on the European market.

Consequently, the directive applies to new PPE manufactured in the member states and to new and used PPE imported from outside of the European Community.

Requirements of the PPE directive

The PPE directive defines “essential requirements” which must be satisfied at the time of manufacture and before PPE products are placed on the market: The general requirements applicable to all PPE; the additional requirements specific to certain types of PPE; and also the additional requirements specific to particular risks.

These requirements regard, for instance:

Certain hazards associated with the product, such as physical and mechanical resistance, flammability, chemical, electrical or biological properties, hygiene and radioactivity.

  • The product and/or its performance, such as provisions regarding materials, design, construction, manufacturing process, instructions drawn up by the manufacturer.
  • The directive lays down the principal protection objective(s) (for example by means of an illustrative list).
  • A combination of these three aspects may also occur. The directive details both Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSRs) for PPE and the conformity assessment procedures, which for products protecting against more serious risk may require the intervention of a ‘notified body’.