Personal Protective Equipment

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The personal Protective Equipment Directive 2016/425, the PPE UK regulations, applies to any equipment designed to be worn or held by an individual for protection against health and safety hazards.


Personal protective equipment includes, safety gloves, footwear, safety clothing, hearing protection, eye protection, masks and breathing apparatus, fall arrest equipment, and PPE to protect from electric shock. It also includes systems connecting PPE to another device even if the system is not intended to be worn or held permanently by the user.


The directive specifies exclusions in Annex I these include:

  • PPE designed and manufactured specifically for use by the armed forces or police
  • PPE for self-defence (aerosol canisters, personal deterrent weapons, etc.).
  • PPE designed and manufactured for private use against:
adverse atmospheric conditions (headgear, seasonal clothing, footwear, umbrellas, etc.),
damp and water (dish-washing gloves, etc.),
  • PPE for the protection or rescue of persons on vessels or aircraft, but not worn all the time.
  • Helmets and visors intended for users of two- or three-wheeled motor vehicles.

It is important to take advice on exclusions if there is any doubt.

Warning! Manufacturers have a duty of care to ensure that no unacceptable hazards exist regardless of these exclusions.

Products that also claim medical benefits may also have to meet the Medical Devices regulations.

Essential Requirements

The Essential Requirements listed in Annex II to the directive apply to all PPE. 

Conformance Assessment

To meet the directive a Technical File is required which is to include not only the definition of the equipment (drawings etc) and the list of applicable standards, but also records the control and test facilities to be used to check compliance of production PPE with the harmonized standards.

Most PPE requires testing by an independent test house against specific harmonised standards.

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