New regulations regarding Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will take effect on 6th April 2022, amending the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992 (PPER 1992). The types of duties and responsibilities for employers and employees under PPER 1992 will remain unchanged, but will be extended to limb (b) workers.
What This Means for Employers
PPER 1992 places a duty on every employer in the UK to ensure that suitable PPE is provided to ‘employees’ who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work.
PPER 2022 extends this duty to limb (b) workers, so employers need to carefully consider whether the change to UK law applies to them and their workforce, and must make the necessary preparations to comply.
In the UK, under section 230(3) of the Employment Rights Act 1996, the definition of a worker has 2 limbs:
- Limb (a) describes those with a contract of employment. This group are employees under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and are already in scope of PPER 1992.
- Limb (b) describes workers who generally have a more casual employment relationship and work under a contract for service – they do not currently come under the scope of PPER 1992.
What This Means for Limb (b) Workers
If a risk assessment indicates that a limb (b) worker requires PPE to carry out their work activities, the employer must carry out a PPE suitability assessment and provide the PPE free of charge, as they do for employees.
The employer will be responsible for the maintenance, storage and replacement of any PPE they provide. Workers will be required to use the PPE properly following training and instruction from their employer. If the PPE provided is lost or becomes defective, the worker should report it to their employer.
For further information, please visit the HSE website.