On 6 April 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. The updated Regulations will apply to all employers in Great Britain in a wide range of sectors and industries and workers are required to use the PPE properly following training and instruction from their employer. Our latest article explains the PPE work regulations update and the effect it will have on employers.

What are these regulations and what do they mean

PPE is defined in the PPER 1992 as ‘all equipment (including clothing affording protection against the weather) which is intended to be worn or held by a person at work and which protects the person against one or more risks to that person’s health or safety, and any addition or accessory designed to meet that objective’. Where an employer finds PPE to be necessary after a risk assessment, they have a duty to provide it free of charge.

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, as defined in PPER 2022. If PPE is required, employers must ensure their workers have sufficient information, instruction and training on the use of PPE. A limb (b) worker will have the duty to use the PPE in accordance with their training and instruction, and ensure it is returned to the storage area provided by their employer.

Definitions of limb (a) and limb (b) workers

In the UK, section 230(3) of the Employment Rights Act 1996’s 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.

The impact on employers and what’s changed

For employers with (a) and (b) workers-By 6 April 2022, you need to ensure that there is no difference in the way PPE is provided to your workers. For employers with just (b) workers, you need to ensure that your workers are provided with PPE free of charge, where required, by 6 April 2022. This means assessing the residual risk once all other measures (such as engineering controls) have been taken. You then need to ensure suitable PPE is:

  • provided
  • compatible
  • maintained
  • correctly stored
  • used properly

You will also need to provide training and instruction in its use to all your workers and you cannot charge workers for PPE they require to carry out their work.

To simplify, these changes mean that once the legislation is amended, Employers will have a similar duty to provide “limb (b) workers” with the same health and safety protections in respect of PPE as they currently do for “employees” and all employers who use such workers should review their policies regarding the provision of PPE.

For further information and guidance on the PPE work regulations update, please contact us here.