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Employers Beware: Amendments to the PPE Regulations

23 May 2022

On 6 April 2022, amendments to the PPE Regulations came into force. We take a look at what these are and what it means for employers and workers. 

On 6 April 2022, amendments to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022 ("PPER 2022") came into force. These changes are amendments to the original 1992 Regulations relating to Personal Protective Equipment ("PPE").

Who do the amendments apply to?

The amendments relate to limb (b) workers, the duties and responsibilities on employers and employees under PPER 1992 otherwise remain the same. If a business utilises more causal workers, for example seasonal staff, the amendments may affect the workforce and all employers should carefully consider whether the changes apply to them.

What is the definition of a limb (b) worker?

The 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 (1)

Under PPER 2022 the definition of "worker" means an individual who has entered into or works under:

  • A contract of employment; or
  • Any other contract (whether express, implied, oral or in writing where the individual undertakes to do or perform personally any work or services for another party to the contract).

Responsibilities of Employers

As with other employees, if there are any limb (b) workers in a workforce employers should carry out a risk assessment to assess whether they require PPE to safely carry out their work activities. It is the responsibility of the employer to carry out PPE suitability assessments.

Any PPE deemed to be necessary should be provided free of charge and the employer will be responsible for the maintenance, storage and replacement of any PPE that is provided. Employers should also ensure that adequate training and instruction is provided in relation to the use of PPE to all workers. For example, if harnesses are provided to facilitate safe working at height, they should be provided free of charge and the worker should be trained in how to properly use the harness. As with all PPE provided to employees and workers, it is prudent for employers to keep PPE registers to track what PPE has been given out, when it was given out, when it was last maintained/inspected and to record any training in an employee/workers training log. 

Responsibilities of Workers

Workers now also have a duty to use any PPE provided in accordance with the training and instruction given. Given that workers may only be ad-hoc, they must also ensure that they return any PPE to any storage area provided by their employer.

If you have any queries regarding the topics raised in this article, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the contact below to discuss issues further.

Footnote 1: Section 230(3) The Employers Rights Act 1996

Further Reading