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Council Directive of 30 November 1989 on the minimum safety and health requirements for the use of Personal Protective Equipment on the workplace by the employees. (89/656/EEC)

Note for the reader: this information sheet provides a summary and some comments on the Directive. Please use the official text of the Directive for reference.

Status: Special Directive in the sense of the more general Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 on the implementation of measures to promote the improvement of the workers’ safety and health at the workplace.

Directive 89/656 specifies minimum requirements concerning safety and health aspects of PPE used at the work place by the employees. This means that national regulations can be more severe if justified for safety and health reasons.

Contents of the Directive

Definition of PPE: A PPE is any equipment worn or held by the employee to protect him/her against one or more health or safety risks at the workplace, including all complementary equipment or accessories that can contribute to this purpose.

This definition excludes:

  • normal workwear and uniforms not specifically intended to protect the safety and health;
  • equipment of first aid and rescue services;
  • PPE for military and police use;
  • PPE used in road vehicles (e.g. safety belts in cars);
  • sports equipment;
  • self-defense or deterrent materials;
  • portable risk and nuisance factors detection and warning devices.
  • General rule: PPE shall only be used if the risks can not be eliminated or sufficiently reduced by collective protection devices or by organisational measures, methods or processes.
  • PPE are considered to be the lowest form of prevention techniques, only to be used to protect against the residual risk after implementation of other measures.
  • Obligations of the employer:
  • Only PPE shall be used, which comply with the European regulations on concept and construction of PPE, i.e. the requirements of Directive 89/686/EEC.
  • These PPE shall:
  • be fit for the risk encountered, without itself introducing a new risk;
  • be compatible with the existing workplace conditions;
  • meet the ergonomic requirements and the safety and health requirements;
  • be adaptable to the individual needs of the wearer.
  • If more than one type of PPE have to be worn simultaneously, then the compatibility and efficiency of this PPE combination shall be checked.
  • The conditions of use of a PPE, in particular the duration of use, shall be determined in relation with the following factors:
  • the level of risk;
  • the frequency of exposure to the risk;
  • the conditions at each individual workplace;
  • the efficiency of the PPE.
  • PPE are in principle designed for use by only one person. If working conditions require that PPE are transferred from one person to an other, then it shall be cleaned and disinfected to allow a re-use under safe hygienic conditions.
  • Data on characteristics, fitness for use, selection etc. of PPE shall be available in the company.
  • The employer shall provide the PPE free of charge. The employer shall also take care of the cleaning, maintenance, repair and replacement of the PPE in order to assure the proper functioning and good hygienic conditions of the PPE.
  • The Member States of the EU can however, in accordance with their national traditions, specify that the employees may have to contribute in the cost of PPE not exclusively used at the workplace.
  • The employer shall inform the employee about the risks the PPE is protecting him/her against.
  • The employer shall organise formation sessions and, if needed, training courses about the proper use of PPE.
  • The PPE shall only be used for the applications they are intended for. Exceptions can only be made under special and exceptional circumstances. They shall be used in accordance with the instructions for use, that shall be provided in a language understandable by the user.
  • Evaluation of PPE
  • Prior to the selection of a PPE the employer shall make an evaluation that includes the following steps:
  • analysis and assessment of risks that can not be avoided by other means;
  • description of the characteristics of the PPE to counter the risks determined in the first step, taking into account the possibility of risks introduced by the PPE itself;
  • evaluation of the characteristics of the PPE available, compared with the product specification made in the second step.
  • This procedure shall be repeated when the PPE is modified.
  • Rules for use
  • The rules on when and where PPE shall be used shall be specified by the individual EU Member States, respecting the general principles of this Directive.
  • Guidance is given in the annexes to the Directive.
  • In their rules the Member States shall address the technical evolution with regard to risks and collective and personal protective devices.
  • The Member States shall consult the social partners about these rules for use.
  • Information of employees
  • The employees and/or their representatives shall be informed about all measures with regard to safety and health to be taken when using PPE at the workplace.
  • Consultation and participation of employees
  • The employees and/or their representatives shall be consulted and shall participate in the matters covered by this Directive and its annexes.


We have a complete manufacturing unit comprises of different section, 30 Circular Knitting Machines of different gauges and diameters in KNITTING UNIT 2 Hydraulic Travelling head cutting press in CUTTING UNIT 100 Chain Lock Stitching Machines in STITCHING UNIT. All gloves are being individually checked by quality control department before ironing and packing. All the Sections are being run by fully qualified people, Export Marketing and Management is being controlled by the technically experienced / educated and widely travelled people. .

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