Safety first: a new PPE regulation for Europe

Brussels, Belgium – 20 January 2016  Today, the European Parliament voted on a new EU Regulation, updating the current EU rules on personal protective equipment (PPE). Protective sporting goods, such as sport helmets, swimming goggles, shin-guards and diving suits will be subject to the new Regulation, which is expected to become fully applicable in 2018.

The PPE Regulation is of key importance to the sporting goods industry to ensure that safe protective equipment can be marketed in all EU Member States. It defines legal obligations to ensure that PPE on the European market provides the highest appropriate level of protection against hazards. The CE marking affixed to PPE provides evidence of this protection level and its verification.
Since compliance with the Regulation can be costly and cumbersome for economic operators, FESI has argued to limit the burden on compliant manufacturers. Therefore, FESI is pleased that the EU has decided to include a number of improvements to the original proposal, limiting the costs of bringing safety enhancing products to the market:

  • Not making it mandatory to provide additional papers with each PPE (such as a Declaration of Conformity, which is a legal statement by the manufacturer attesting that the product concerned complies with all relevant provisions of the PPE Regulation).
  • A simplified low cost procedure to renew EU-type examination certificates, instead of a full assessment every 5 years, in case no relevant changes were made to the product. This can easily save up to € 5000 per product range and avoids unnecessary bureaucratic procedures.
  • Explicit clarification that the Regulation applies strictly to protective clothing and not to regular clothing that contains reflective and fluorescent elements and products to protect the wearer against atmospheric conditions, that are not of an extreme nature or to protect against damp and water, such as seasonal clothing. 

“In the coming years, the EU will draft up the implementing guidelines for the Regulation, which will be applied by all national authorities” FESI Secretary General Alberto Bichi stated, “FESI will closely follow that process and be involved as much as possible to ensure that safe sport equipment can be sold throughout the EU and that the burden on compliant manufacturers remains as low as possible”, he continued.