Regulations are different in different countries and different areas of application.

European council directives and harmonized standards control the market as well as product safety and performance in the EU. USA lacks federal regulations on chemical protective clothing (CPC) and diving suits but standards are available on personal protective equipment (PPE) for fire departments and first responders.


Common European legislation is achieved through treaties and directives.

In principle PPE should be the last resort after having exhausted all other possibilities to avoid exposure of personnel to chemicals. This is the responsibility of the employer as regulated in council directive 89/656/EEC.

The PPE directive, 89/686/EC outlines the basic requirements for all PPE such as chemical protective clothing (CPC) and dry diving suits, on the single market and require them to be CE marked. Harmonization of the specific requirements for CE marking is achieved by applying the European standards, EN standards. The PPE directive is implemented through national legislation in each member state. In each member state you find an authority which is responsible for the PPE directive, its implementation and market surveillance. Most member states have one or more test institutes that are accredited for performing compliance testing and approval of PPE, these are termed notified bodies.

Dock seals are covered by the Directive on Machinery 2006/42/EU.


USA lacks federal regulations on chemical protective clothing (CPC) and diving suits and there are no standards for CPC for industrial use.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) issues standards for protective clothing for the fire service and first responders of all kinds. Compliance with these standards is voluntary and there is no legal obligation for users and manufacturers to comply. However, it should be noted that in order to obtain federal grants for CPC procurement, compliance with the applicable NFPA standard is usually required. Certification and approval to NFPA standards is managed by independent institutes and laboratories such as the SEI, Safety Equipment Institute and UL, Underwriters Laboratories.


Ships carrying chemicals or dangerous goods as it is termed in many maritime documents are covered by international conventions. The IMO, International Maritime Organisation, is the United Nations' agency concerned with safety at sea. The important publication here is SOLAS, the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea. SOLAS requires all vessels carrying dangerous goods to have at least four pieces of chemical protective clothing on board but says nothing about performance requirements for these. 

  • Last updated 7/20/2018
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