New European-wide legislation covering the manufacture, distribution and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been introduced under PPE Regulation (EU) 2016/425. The new regulation became law on 21 April 2016, although it will not be fully implemented until April 2018 when the old PPE Directive 89/686/EEC will be repealed.

Under the new regulation, PPE importers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers, will be responsible for providing effective and safe PPE products. This should lead to fewer sub-standard products being marketed for sale. Some PPE products will be re-classified from intermediate to complex categories, and quality standard certificates will only have a 5 year validity.

Anyone purchasing PPE equipment will also be able to contact the manufacturers directly (rather than through trading standards officers as was previously the case); and will also be able to ask for information about products in any language. This is to reduce the likelihood of inferior quality PPE products being imported, although it may cause difficulties for manufacturers in the UK that are approached with requests for information in other languages.

For further information about the new Regulation, go: