Personal protective equipment (PPE) is protective clothing, helmets, goggles, or other garments or equipment designed to protect the wearer's body from injury or infection. The hazards addressed by protective equipment include physical, electrical, heat, chemicals, biohazards, and airborne particulate matter. Protective equipment may be worn for job-related occupational safety and health purposes, as well as for sports and other recreational activities.
Legislation in the European Union
The European Commission additionally allowed for a transition period until 30 June 1995 to give companies sufficient time to adapt to the legislation. After this date, all PPE placed on the market in EU Member States was required to comply with the requirements of Directive 89/686/EEC and carry the CE Marking.
Article 1 of Directive 89/686/EEC defines personal protective equipment as any device or appliance designed to be worn or held by an individual for protection against one or more health and safety hazards. PPE which falls under the scope of the Directive is divided into three categories:
Category I: simple design (e.g. gardening gloves, footwear, ski goggles)
Category II: PPE not falling into category I or III (e.g. personal flotation devices, dry and wet suits)
Category III: complex design (e.g. respiratory equipment, harnesses)
Council Directive 89/686/EEC of 21 December 1989 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to personal protective equipment