For personal protective equipment, Directive 89/686/EEC applies. This directive applies to "every device or means intended to be worn or held by a person, to protect them from one or more risks to their health or safety" (excerpt from Article 1, paragraph 2, 89/686/EEC). Also covered are replaceable components of personal protective equipment that are essential for its proper functioning.
The Directive on personal protective equipment provides for a classification of products into three categories.
For the complex personal safety equipment (Category III), a type examination and production monitoring must be performed by a notified body. In this case, the contents of the certification procedure for obtaining the CE label or the GS mark are comparable; therefore, the GS mark is not used for this field.
However, the less demanding personal safety equipment (Categories I and II), which is either labelled with the CE marking by the manufacturer without a certificate from a notified body (Category I), or is only subjected to a type examination(Category II), can obtain a GS mark after a corresponding test.
The new Regulation (EU) 2016/425 will be applicable as of 21 April 2018.