What does the term ‘PPE Regulation’ actually mean?

Rosenbauer FIRE MAX 3The new Personal Protective Equipment Regulation (EU) 2016/424 replaced the previous PPE Directive 89/686/EEC from 1989 on April 21, 2018.

This PPE Regulation is aimed at various economic operators, such as manufacturers, sellers, importers and certification bodies, and applies to all EU member states.
It regulates, among other things, how personal protection products must be designed and labeled to able to be marketed within the EU.

This includes (with a few exceptions) all products that work toward the personal protection of a user: protective gloves, working shoes, eye protectors, etc.
Ultimately, the user or purchaser should be able to rely on the fact that, if the product is labeled with a “CE” mark, basic health and safety requirements have been met.



What risk categories are there?

Rosenbauer Rescue 2In the PPE Regulation, PPE items are divided into so-called Risk Categories:

  1. Category I: Low risks
  2. Category II: Risks that do not fall into either Category I or Category III
  3. Category III: Risks that can lead to very serious consequences such as death or irreversible health damage

PPE products (protective suits, helmets, boots, etc.) designed for fire departments are almost exclusively Category III products.
Understandably, this is where the requirements to be allowed to supply such products to the market are the most stringent.
External type testing by an EU-approved certification body is required for all items that fall in this category. This body checks whether the requirements of the PPE Regulation are met, and, releases the product after positive type testing.

Only then is the manufacturer authorized to market this product in this version for a period of exactly five years. A mandatory additional annual inspection by an external monitoring body ensures this, in the interest of the user.

It is the responsibility of the manufacturer, as well as the seller, to label PPE products in accordance with the requirements of the PPE Regulation or to include user information – including information on use, limits of use, care and a declaration of conformity – with each product.


When will this PPE Regulation enter into force, and what transitional periods need to be observed?

The PPE Regulation was published in 2016, and has already been in force since April 21, 2018, and since then all new type certifications have only been permissible on the basis of the regulation. The period between April 21, 2018 and April 20, 2019 is considered to be a transitional year. During this period, PPE items produced according to the previous guidelines may still be brought on the market. This allows all manufacturers to sell their stock of PPE (according to the old directive) on the market.

Model types certificates in accordance with the previous guidelines will remain valid from 21 April, 2019, but only for products already on the market. PPE brought on the market before and during the transitional year and commercially available may be sold until the end of the validity of the applicable certificate, but no later than April 20, 2023.


Are Rosenbauer PPE products already certified under the new PPE Regulation?

Rosenbauer has applied for certifications accordingly for all PPE products that it produces.
Due to certification authorities currently being overwhelmed by requests, these updated approvals could not yet be completed for all Rosenbauer products.
The aim is to have all PPE products produced by Rosenbauer certified by December 2018, at the latest.