The Health & Safety Executive has issued interim guidance explaining the changes to PPE regulations that come into effect on April 6, 2022.
The Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022 (PPER 2022) come into force and amend the 1992 Regulations (PPER 1992).
They extend employers’ and employees’ duties regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) to limb (b) workers.
Under PPER 2022, the types of duties and responsibilities on employers and employees under PPER 1992 will remain unchanged but will extend to limb (b) workers.
In the UK, section 230(3) of the Employment Rights Act 1996’s definition of a worker has two 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.
If PPE is required, employers must ensure their workers have sufficient information, instruction and training on the use of PPE.
PPER 1992 places a duty on every employer in Great Britain 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.
HSE said employers need to carefully consider whether the change to UK law apply to them and their workforce and make the necessary preparations to comply.
HSE said: “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. As a worker, you will be required to use the PPE properly following training and instruction from your employer. If the PPE you provide is lost or becomes defective, you should report that to your employer.”