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PPE regulations set to change

04 November 2015

The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Directive 89/686/EEC, which is more than 20 years old, is being updated to reflect the new technologies that are now employed in bringing PPE to market.

The draft version of the Regulation has already been approved by the European Commission and Parliament. The European Council is currently reaching final agreement on the wording of the Regulation, which is due to be printed in the OJ (Official Journal of European Union) at the end of January 2016. The Regulation is due to come into force in quarter one of 2016. A transition period will then take place in 2016 and 2017, with full enforcement of the PPE Regulation by the end of 2018.

Jim Lythgow, head of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, says: "Existing certifications for PPE, held by the manufacturers, will expire when the Regulation comes into force at the end of 2018. It is important, therefore, for employers and safety managers who procure PPE, to ensure that their providers will be able to meet with the new certification, otherwise employees will not be covered."

While the previous PPE Directive put the emphasis on the manufacturers, the new Regulation will be effective over the entire supply chain. Anyone involved in the supply and distribution chain will have to take appropriate measures to ensure the PPE meets with the standard requirements.

Previously a ‘Directive’ – this is a legislative act setting out objectives for EU countries to achieve in their own way, by a certain date; the requirements will be reclassified as a PPE ‘Regulation’ – this is a binding legislative act, which must be applied precisely across the EU.