6. Product safety and supply
The law on the supply of PPE
If you provide PPE, you should ensure it complies with product supply legislation.
Regulation 2016/425 (as incorporated into UK law) sets out the essential health and safety requirements that must be met before PPE products can be placed on the GB market.
The Personal Protective Equipment (Enforcement) Regulations 2018 provide a system for the enforcement of the 2016/425 Regulation and are enforced by HSE for PPE intended for workplace use in Great Britain.
Duties for employers
If you are an employer, you must choose products which are UKCA marked (or CE marked in specific circumstances). PPE should also have a Declaration of Conformity and instructions on how to use the item. Suppliers can advise you.
You must ensure that any PPE is only used in line with the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you have concerns that PPE supplied for use at work does not comply with the product supply legislation, you can let HSE know by reporting a defective product.
Duties for those in the supply chain
If you are a manufacturer, authorised representative, importer or distributor of PPE, you have duties under Regulation 2016/425 (as incorporated into UK law). These duties are more fully explained in guidance from the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) and will vary depending on where you are in the supply chain (definitions of the different roles are given below).
For example, manufacturers will have more duties, with tighter restrictions, than distributors. However, they all have an important role to play in ensuring that only compliant and safe PPE is placed on the market.
A manufacturer is a person who manufactures PPE, or has PPE designed or manufactured, and markets that PPE under their name or trademark.
An authorised representative is a person authorised by the manufacturer to perform certain tasks on their behalf under a written mandate. Mandated authorised representatives for the GB market can be based in Great Britain or Northern Ireland, but cannot be based outside the UK.
An importer is a person or business based in the UK who places PPE on the GB market from a country outside the UK.
A distributor is any person, other than the manufacturer or importer, who makes PPE available on the GB market.