Myth: Due to EC safety rules, firemen may be forced to wear different uniforms to their current ones.
Response: From January 1,1993, “personal protective equipment” (Council Directive of 21.12.1989, Official Journal of 30.12.89) should satisfy certain common essential requirements in order to guarantee greater health and safety for the user of this equipment. Personal protective equipment includes “any device or equipment designed to be worn or held by the worker to protect him against one or more hazards likely to endanger his safety and health at work”. A wide range of products are covered by this directive and firemen’s uniforms and hats are included. The question is not, of course, to change their design or style but their capacity to comply with a series of tests and safety requirements. All products marketed after 1993 will have to include an EC conformity mark, which certifies that they comply with the EC requirements. This applies in the UK as well as in all the other Member States. There is one exception to the rule: the EC does not apply to personal protective equipment which is manufactured for the army or for law enforcement forces.