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Standards and Markings for Personal Protective Equipment

OM 2009/03


This OG identifies relevant standards for personal protective equipment (PPE) used in the workplace.  It further provides guidance for interpreting the markings on PPE.

The information is presented in nine appendices grouped according to areas of protection.

This OG replaces OM 2009/03, which should be cancelled.


The Personal Protective Equipment Directive (89/686/EEC) sets out requirements relating to the design, manufacture and supply of PPE.  This Directive is implemented in the UK by the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/1144). These Regulations are enforced by Trading Standards Officers (TSOs).

The PPE Regulations 2002 provide manufacturers of PPE, or those importing PPE into Europe (aka the responsible person) with the option of complying directly with its basic health and safety requirements, or with harmonised European Standards which have been developed specifically to allow a presumption of conformity with those requirements. 

Most PPE manufacturers choose to comply with the PPE Regulations 2002 by manufacturing in accordance with the relevant standard. The practical effect of this is that almost all PPE for use at work is marked according to the coding rules of the relevant EN Standards.

The appendices to this OG contain a summary of all the currently available PPE standards and the marking requirements of those standards.

Note: Under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (and other related legislation such as COSHH, Noise at Work Regulations, Control of Asbestos Regulations etc) employers have a duty, inter alia, to ensure that any PPE they provide to their employees meets the requirements of the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002.


The summaries are intended to draw inspectors' and others’ attention to the markings on PPE which are of greatest significance for health and safety. The information may assist in determining the adequacy of PPE for use at work.  The information is accurate and up to date at the publishing of this document.  Please refer to the Standard for completeness.


HSE Safety Unit

For information on how the various performance levels and classifications are assessed, and their relevance to practical use situations, contact: 

Dr N P Vaughan - PPE Team,
Engineering and Personal Safety Unit,
HSL Buxton. 
Tel: 01298 218329,
Fax: 01298 218393
(or other members of the PPE team, 01298 218330 to 8336 inclusive)

Updated 2013-11-27