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Changes to PPE marking in the UK

18th April 2023

Personal Protective Equipment, commonly known as PPE, is an essential component of workplace safety. It is used to protect workers from hazardous and potentially dangerous situations that they may encounter in their line of work.

In the UK, the regulations surrounding the marking of PPE have recently undergone some significant changes. In this blog, we will discuss these changes and their implications for businesses and workers.

Prior to the changes, PPE marking in the UK was governed by the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2016. These regulations required all PPE to carry the CE marking, which indicated that the product met certain safety standards and had undergone testing to ensure its effectiveness. However, this marking did not differentiate between PPE designed for professional and non-professional use, such as DIY or gardening.

What is UKCA marking?

The UKCA marking is a new product marking that indicates compliance with UK regulations and standards. It is mandatory for certain products and has replaced the CE marking in most cases. The UK government has provided guidance to businesses on the requirements for using the UKCA marking, and it is important for businesses to understand and follow these requirements to ensure compliance and avoid potential penalties.

The new changes to PPE marking in the UK require manufacturers of PPE to use a new mark, the UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) mark, instead of the CE mark. This change was made in response to the UK's departure from the EU and the end of the Brexit transition period. The UKCA marking is now required for all PPE products placed on the UK market.

What is the difference between CE and UKCA marking?

One of the key differences between the CE and UKCA marks is that the UKCA mark can only be used for PPE intended for professional use. This means that PPE products intended for non-professional use will not require the UKCA marking. However, this does not mean that they do not need to meet safety standards. Manufacturers must still ensure that their PPE products are safe and fit for purpose, regardless of whether they are intended for professional or non-professional use.

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Another important change is that, unlike the CE mark, the UKCA mark can only be applied by UK-based manufacturers or their authorised representatives. This means that non-UK manufacturers will need to appoint a UK-based authorised representative to apply the UKCA mark on their behalf. This change is aimed at ensuring that all PPE products sold in the UK meet the same high standards of safety and quality.

What do the changes mean to the businesses?

The changes to PPE marking in the UK have been introduced to ensure that all PPE products sold in the UK meet the necessary safety standards. The new UKCA mark replaces the CE mark and is only applicable to PPE products intended for professional use. The changes also mean that non-UK manufacturers will need to appoint a UK-based authorized representative to apply the UKCA mark on their behalf.

In conclusion, the changes to PPE marking in the UK represent a significant shift in the regulations governing workplace safety. While the new UKCA mark may take some getting used to, it is important to remember that its introduction is aimed at ensuring that all PPE products sold in the UK meet the necessary safety standards. By complying with these regulations, businesses can help to ensure the safety of their workers and avoid potential legal and financial penalties.

***Update***

On 14 November 2022, the government decided to extend the deadline for the transition period by two years (previously set for 31 December 2022). According to the new timeline, the government will continue to recognise the CE marking for 2 years, therefore allowing businesses until 31 December 2024 to prepare for the UKCA marking. Businesses can also use the UKCA marking, giving them flexibility to choose which marking to apply.

The extension was granted due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges faced by businesses in making the necessary changes to their products and processes to comply with the new UKCA marking requirements.

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Louise Powell

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Louise Powell

PPE Advisor

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