BSIF, with thanks to Paul Varnsverry, publishes a series of faqs to support and to help the economic operators in Motorcycle Clothing discharge their responsibilities under the PPE Regulation (EU) 2016/425.
Q1. Is motorcyclists’ clothing covered by the PPE Regulation?
In January 2016, the European Parliament decreed that the new Regulation would apply equally to motorcyclists’ clothing – jackets, trousers, suits, gloves and footwear, as well as components such as back protectors, limb impact protectors and inflatable body protection. In subsequent clarification, rainwear for non-professional use has been identified as the single exclusion from the motorcyclist’s wardrobe, but only if impact protectors cannot be fitted. Rain jackets and trousers with pockets for protectors, for example, fall within the requirements of the legislation.
Q2. When does this all happen – I have heard conflicting information?
A2. It has already happened!
The PPE Regulation was fully implemented on 21st April 2018 and that was the date on which all motorcyclists’ clothing was required to conform.
Companies which had already had their clothing tested and approved before 21st April 2018, under the previous PPE Directive, were provided with a one year “changeover period”, to 21st April 2019, to conform to the new Regulation.
Since the vast majority of motorcycle clothing on the market had not been tested and certified under the previous Directive, however, this one-year extension did not apply to such products and the original implementation date of 21st April 2018 was the deadline.
Q3. I market motorcycle clothing. What are my responsibilities?
A3. The PPE Regulation explains the distinctions between the responsible parties in the supply chain, which are collectively known as “economic operators”, which encompasses the manufacturer, the authorised representative, the importer and the distributor:
‘manufacturer’ means any natural or legal person who manufactures PPE, or has it designed or manufactured, and markets it under his name or trademark. The manufacturer is considered to be best placed to carry out the conformity assessment procedure (testing and certification).
‘authorised representative’ means a person or company which has received a written mandate from a manufacturer to act on his behalf in relation to specified tasks. They are
responsible for making available the EU Declarations of Conformity and for liaison with the market surveillance and other competent national authorities.
‘importer’ means a person or company which places PPE from a third country on the market. They are responsible, for example, for performing thorough due diligence, before placing PPE on the market, including ensuring the correct testing and certification processes have been completed, that all documentation is in order, maintaining a record of any complaints received about the product and running check-testing to ensure standards are maintained across different production runs.
‘distributor’ means a person or company other than the manufacturer or the importer, who makes PPE available on the market. They are also required to exercise due diligence; primarily ensuring that the correct product labels and user information are present.
Q4. I am a retailer. What are my responsibilities under the legislation?
A4. Retailers do not have any responsibilities under the PPE Regulation; however, if you are a retailer which is placing own brand motorcycle clothing on the market, then it is highly probable that you have the same responsibilities as either a manufacturer or an importer (see Q6).
Q5. I am a retailer. What happens to the stock I already have in my shop? Can I continue to sell it?
A5. For products first placed on the market before 21st April 2018, the answer is yes, and that stock can continue to be sold indefinitely.
If you received top-up stock of the same styles on or after 21st April 2018, however, then depending upon when and where in the supply chain it was first placed on the market, it is possible that it should have been CE marked.
For new ranges for 2019, however, the situation is much clearer cut: these should conform to the requirements of the PPE Regulation. Any breaches of the Regulation are not your responsibility as the retailer, however, but of others in the supply chain before you.
Q6. I am a retailer, but I sell a range of own-brand motorcycle clothing that I purchase from a factory outside the EU. How does this affect me?
A6. As you import clothing bearing your own brand from outside the EU, you have the same responsibilities as those of a manufacturer. You must arrange for your products to be independently tested and certified.
Were the manufacturer you purchase from to be located within the EU, then your responsibilities might be those of a manufacturer, importer or distributor, depending upon the nature of the commercial agreement you have with the factory producing your own-branded products. Specialist advice should be sought if this is the situation which applies to your company.
Q7. Does this only affect off-the-peg clothing from the major brands, or are made-tomeasure suits also required to be tested and certified?
A7. All motorcyclists’ clothing is covered by the PPE Regulation covers – ready-made or custom-made.
Q8. I have been told that the standards for motorcyclists’ clothing haven’t been published yet, so I don’t need to take any action until they are.
A8. This information is incorrect. The legislation (the PPE Regulation) sets out what must be done, by whom and by when. Standards are a separate thing entirely and they provide a means to satisfy the legal obligations of the legislation.
The legislation required conformity with effect from 21st April 2018 (21st April 2019 for products previously certified under the PPE Regulation – see above). If final standards for clothing (jackets, trousers, suits) have not been published, then it is permitted to test and certify to the draft version of the standards; however, standards for impact protectors, gloves and footwear have been published and are well established. Quite simply, if your products are not already certified, or you haven’t commenced testing, then you need to start doing so straight away!
Q9. Where can I get my motorcycle clothing products tested?
A9. A number of test houses across Europe are equipped and have been officially accredited to test and assess your products. A trade association, such as the British Safety Industry Federation (www.bsif.co.uk), should be able to assist you with further information.
Q10. Although the deadline has passed, my motorcycle clothing range is still undergoing testing. This process is taking several months to complete, because the test houses are so busy.
(a) In the meantime, can I carry on selling my products without the CE mark, (b) If I am permitted to carry on trading, for how long will this permission last, (c) what evidence will the authorities wish to see that conforms my company is having its products assessed?
A10. The response to (a) and (b) is in the jurisdiction of Trading Standards; whether they are prepared to permit a company to continue to sell PPE in breach of the Regulation, and if so for how long, or whether prohibition or forfeiture orders will be applied.
As for part (c), such evidence might involve sight of copies of an application for typeexamination made to a Notified Body, confirmations of payments for testing, sight of the draft technical documentation and regular updates on progress of the work programme, to ensure the company is truly committed to the swiftest possible resolution.
Q11. How can the consumer check that apparel for motorcyclists has been correctly tested and certified?
A11. The CE mark is required to appear on the product. In garments, fitted impact protectors must feature this, as well as the garment itself. An instruction booklet is also required to be supplied, which should include details of the certification body and the standard involved in the testing of the product.
Finally, a copy of the manufacturer’s Declaration of Conformity must either be provided with the product, or the instruction booklet should include a link to a web page where it can be accessed. The Declaration of Conformity is required to provide the manufacturer’s details, the product name, the standards to which it was tested, details of the certification body, and the certificate number.
Q12. Won’t Brexit prevent all this from being necessary?
A12. No. The EU PPE Regulation was already enshrined in UK law with effect from 21st April 2018 – well before the conclusion of the Brexit process. At the time of writing, there is still no conclusive outcome, but should the United Kingdom leave the European Union, then there will still be a system for testing and certifying motorcyclists’ clothing across all 27 Member States plus the UK, which will involve products carrying the CE mark, the UKCA mark, or both.