PPE Category (89/686/EEC directive)

Definition Logo

Initial EC-Type Certification from a notified body (Article 10*)

Manufacturer s declaration of Confirmity (Article 12*)

Annual Quality Surveillance Certification by a notified body (Article 11*)

Category III (PPE of com- plex design)

Protection against high risks where the employee can be exposed to elements which would be harmful to life e.g. chemical liquid exposure, asbestos and similar particulate hazards.


** Mandatory Yes Yes

Category II (neither simple nor complex PPE)

Protection against moderate risk where the product is tested for one value e.g. water resistant gloves or refl ective tape for garments.


** Mandatory Yes

Surveillance certification required every 5 years or in case of product modification

Category I (PPE of simple design)

Protection from minimal risks, self certifi cation of products, exposure to dirt and grime e.g. gardening gloves, visitors labcoats.

CE Not required Yes Not required

* European PPE directive 89/686/EEC. ** Represents the 4 digit numeric code of the notifi ed body.


In accordance with European Directive EC 89/6561, it is an employer s responsibility to lay down minimum requirements for the assessment, selection and correct use of personal protective equipment. Priority must be given to collective safety measures.

The following table provides you with a rule of thumb of how to assess risk in the garment selection process:

Level of exposure Š Garment type* - please see Annexe 5 Hazard/toxicity Š Fabric barrier properties* - please see Annexe 3 Level of exposure Š Mechanical fabric properties - please see Annexe 3

* Garment Type is linked to fabric barrier properties.


The European PPE directive 89/686/EEC2 refers to three Categories of PPE . These Categories are shown in the fi gure and demonstrate that the manufacturer of the product concerned has complied with the relevant performance requirements. In terms of protection, these categories relate to the protective properties of the entire garment where Category I offers the least protection and Category III relates to the highest protection. With Category III garments, in addition to the basic CE certifi cation (according to Article 10 of the PPE Directive, the manufacturer

must ensure the product continues to conform and meet the the declared performance EN Classes shown in the Instructions for use. Unlike Category I and II PPE, Category III PPE is subject to an annual audit by a Notifi ed Body, which certifi es continued conformity and issues a Quality Surveillance Certifi cate as per Article 11 of the PPE Directive. Note that all Category III PPE must be identifi ed with the digit code of the notifi ed body appended to the CE mark.

Table 1. Risk assessment determines required garment performance.

Table 2. Categories of PPE and compliance with garment performance requirements.

Annexe 2

1 OSHA online, Council Directive 89/656/EEC on the minimum health and safety requirements for the use by workers of personal protective equipment at the workplace, (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal- content/EN/TXT/? uri=CELEX:01989L0656-20070627 1989.)

2 European Commision online, Council Directive 89/686/EE on Personal Protective Equipment, (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/ legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:01989L0686-20130101&from=EN 2013).