Personal protective equipment

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

Personal protective equipment provides protection against accidents involving a person’s head, face, eyes, ears, hands and feet. The equipment must comply with the Personal Protective Equipment (Commodities Act) Decree (Warenwetbesluit persoonlijke beschermingsmiddelen 2018).

Types of personal protective equipment

There are several types of personal protective equipment (in Dutch):

  • respiratory protection
  • protective clothing
  • face protection
  • hand protection
  • head protection
  • eye protection
  • hearing protection (ear protection)
  • fall protection
  • foot protection (protective footwear)

Safety requirements

Personal protective gear must always meet these requirements:

  • they provide the proper protection against the risk they were meant for
  • the person using the protective equipment must be able to work in the normal way
  • no risk, nuisance, or obstruction can be caused to the person using the protective equipment

Manufacturers, representatives, or importers must indicate which risks the products offer protection against and the product’s risk group category. There are three categories of personal protective equipment:

  • protection against mild risks, such as sunglasses, rain gear, and simple gloves (Category I)
  • protection against average risks, such as safety goggles and a safety helmet (Category II)
  • protection against serious risks, for instance a harness belt (Category III)

The safety requirements differ according to category. Personal protective equipment that meets the requirements should have CE marking.

Use of personal protective equipment

In the Netherlands, you must make such equipment available to your employees free of charge according to Article 3 of the Working Conditions Act. You must also provide your employees with proper information on how to use and maintain the personal protective equipment. Your risk inventory and evaluation (RI&E) must contain a description of the personal protective equipment required. The equipment is always a supplement to measures taken to minimise risks. This includes good maintenance of equipment and the replacement of old equipment.

Please note that the technical requirements imposed by the Netherlands on helmets for drivers and passengers of a motor scooter or a motorcycle differ from those in other EU Member States. If a helmet is already permitted in another EU Member State, the Dutch government may only prohibit its sale in the Netherlands in exceptional cases.