New European regulation on personal protective equipment
After the European Commission had already submitted a proposal for a new regulation on personal protective equipment (PPE) on 27 March 2014, the legislative procedure stalled last year. On 12 February 2016, the Council of the European Union gave the slightly amended draft a green light at its first reading.
In terms of its content, the following points are of interest in the expected regulation:
- PPE law will be adapted to the new legislative framework, i.e. to Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 on market surveillance and to Decision No 768/2008/EC.
- The commonly used PPE categories (I-III) become part of the legal act itself – to date, they have been used in the non-legally-binding guidelines to the PPE Directive.
- Unlike in the current legal situation, the EC Declaration of Conformity will be added to the PPE, with this duty being fulfilled by providing a simplified Declaration of Conformity.
- In future, PPE law will still not apply to PPE designed for private use as protection against “damp and water when washing dishes” (rubber washing-up gloves).
- A simplified procedure for extending EU type examination certificates is envisaged.
However, the basic requirements of PPE regarding health and safety protection, currently laid down in Annex II of the PPE Directive 89/686/EEC, have not been fundamentally changed. There have merely been some linguistic changes.
In contrast to the current Directive 89/686/EEC, the PPE Regulation will be valid immediately in all Member States without requiring implementation by national law. It is likely that the PPE Regulation will be published soon afterwards in the Official Journal and the start of validity will be defined as two years after it comes into force. Therefore the manufacturers, importers and retailers of PPE (e.g. protective clothing, safety shoes, safety gloves or sunglasses) will have enough time to adjust to the new legal situation.
Any questions? Dr. Simon Menz
Practice Group: Litigation, Arbitration & ADR