New PPE Regulation 2016/425
British industry and standards bodies are currently working to prepare for the new European Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Regulation 2016/425, ahead of full enforcement of the new requirements in April 2018.
The new PPE Regulation 2016/425 was listed in the European Commission Official Journal on 21 April 2016, starting the two-year transition period to prepare for the introduction of the new legislation.
The Regulation is mandatory and will affect anyone working in the PPE industry, carrying new and wider responsibilities for commercial operators.
In a White Paper recently published on the subject, the UK standards organisation, the BSI Group, noted that the original PPE Directive (89/686/EEC) was adopted by the European Council in 1989 and after more than 20 years, during which time it has largely remained unchanged, it is in need of updating to reflect current technologies and processes.
The key changes of the new standard are summarised as follows.
- The PPE Directive will be replaced by a Regulation.
- A number of types of protection will move from category II (intermediate) to category III (complex).
- There will be a requirement 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 to bring the regulation in line with similar European requirements such as the Medical Devices Directive.
It is important that PPE manufacturers and suppliers fully understand how and if they are affected before the end of the transition period in April 2018.
The change will also make it easier for buyers of PPE to identify reputable suppliers and have confidence that the equipment they are purchasing meets necessary standards.