VAT Information  

2. Protective boots and helmets for industrial use 
 
2.1 How do protective boots and helmets qualify for zero-rating? 
They are zero-rated when all the following conditions are met: 
Condition Description Further information 
1. The articles must be boots or helmets paragraph 2.2 
2. They must be manufactured to the appropriate European or British standard paragraphs 2.3 to 2.5 
3. They must bear a mark indicating conformity with those standards paragraphs 2.3 to 2.5 
4. They must for industrial use paragraph 2.6 
5. They must not be supplied to persons for use by their employees paragraph 2.7 
 
 
2.2 What is the difference between a shoe and a boot? 
The British Standards Institution defines a boot as having a minimum leg height of 
90mm measured vertically from the insole at the back. The European Standard gives the minimum height of the upper (measured vertically from the insole at the back) of 103mm for a size 36 (UK 3) and below, through to a minimum height of the upper of 121mm for a size 45 (UK 11) and above. 
Protective shoes that fall outside these specifications are not eligible for zero-rating, even if they meet the remaining requirements. 
 
 
2.3 What are the European and British standards? 
The protective boots and helmets must be manufactured to the standards: 
imposed by the European Community Directive on Personal Protective Equipment (the PPE Directive); or 
approved by the British Standards Institution. 
 
The relevant harmonised European standards (ENs) and British Standards (BSs) are: 
Description Harmonised European standards (ENs) and British Standards (BSs) 
Boots 
EN 345:1992 and BS EN 345:1993 – Safety footwear for professional use. 
EN 346:1992 and BS EN 346:1993 – Protective footwear for professional use. 
BS 4676:1983 – Gaiters and footwear for protection against burns and impact risks in foundries. 
BS 1870: Part 1:1988 - Safety footwear other than all-rubber and all-plastics moulded types. 
BS 1870: Part 2:1976 - Safety footwear - lined rubber boots. 
BS 1870: Part 3:1981 - Safety footwear - polyvinyl chloride moulded safety footwear. 
 
Helmets 
EN 397:1995 and BS EN 397:1995 – Industrial safety helmets. 
EN 812:1997 and BS EN 812: 1998 – Industrial bump caps. 
BS 4033:1966 – Industrial scalp protectors. 
BS 5340:1975 – General purpose industrial safety helmets. 
 
 
2.4 How will they be marked? 
Amongst the markings on them will be one of the above EN or BS numbers and the European Community ‘CE’ mark and/or the British Standard ‘kitemark’. The ‘CE’ mark indicates conformity with the PPE Directive. 
The EN for boots and helmets sourced in other EC countries may be prefixed by 
another country code such as ‘NF’ for French manufactured product, or ‘DS’ for 
one of Danish manufacture. 
 
 
2.5 Are there any alternative standards? 
In some instances, particular boots and helmets may have been manufactured to a different specification to those laid down in the harmonised European Standards. 
These alternative specifications must satisfy the requirements of the PPE Directive and be approved by a ‘notified body’, which in turn has been approved and appointed by the authorities of an EC country. These boots and helmets will still carry the ‘CE’ mark, but also the notified body number. 
 
 
2.6 What does ‘industrial use’mean? 
This has its ordinary and everyday meaning. Boots and helmets that meet all the other conditions for zero-rating but are not for industrial use, such as motorcycle boots, are standard-rated. 
 
 
2.7 Who is the supply being made to? 
You cannot zero-rate supplies of protective boots or helmets to an employer for the use by their employees. Supplies from a manufacturer to a wholesaler who in turn supplies them to a retailer can be zero-rated subject to the conditions set out earlier in this notice. Supplies from an employer to an employee can also be zero-rated, subject to the conditions set out earlier in this notice. 
Before you zero-rate any supply you should… establish your customer is not an employee purchasing boots or helmets for use by employees 
By asking yourself does the… 
customer’s trading style suggest that the customer is an employer; 
quantity ordered suggest a bulk purchase by an employer for the use of employees; 
nature of the contract indicates a trade order - such as a number of pairs of boots paid for by one customer for delivery to individuals.