Within the regulations, two European Directives covering workplace safety have been adopted:
- Directive 89/656/CEE of 30 November 1989, covering the use of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), (for users).
- Directive 89/686/CEE of 21 December 1989, covering the design of PPE (for manufacturers).
The term PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) signifies "any device or means intended to by worn or held by a person to protect them from one or more risks likely to threaten their ealth or their safety in the workplace, and any addition or accessory intended for this purpose". Directive 89/686/CEE determines the categorisation of PPE. Hence, for each of the following categories of PPE, it lays down the certification procedures and technical rules which the equipment must satisfy to benefit from free circulation within the European Union:
- Type I PPE : minor risks: (intended to protect against superficial injuries), the manufacturer does a CE self-certification.He declares that, when new, the PPE conforms to the requirements of the directive. His personal responsibility is engaged. The product is then marked CE.
- Type II PPE : Intermediate risks: (intended to protect against mechanical, thermal and chemical risks) the manufacturer makes an application for a CE inspection, accompanied by the technical file of the PPE to one of the 80 notified European laboratories, which proceeds with a series of tests and studies the file with a view to attributing an EC Type-Examination Certificate (TEC) if the PPE conforms to the requirements.
- Type III PPE : mortal danger: (intended to protect against mortal danger or risks of irreversible health damage), the manufacturer has the choice for the surveillance of the manufacture of his product between the CE finished product guarantee system (11A), or the CE quality assurance system with production monitoring (11B). Previous to this he should have performed the same process as for intermediate risk PPEs.
PPEs intended for protection against falls from heights all belong to Category III. CE marking applies to all three categories. Products certified in this way carry CE marking, followed for category III, by the number of the notified body handling the quality control. For every certified product the manufacturer supplies a user instructions providing his name and address, storage, use and maintenance instructions, a recommended use-by-date and the meaning of the markings.
All these specifications are stipulated in the previously listed "harmonised" EN standards.