Changes to employers’ responsibilities regarding the provision of PPE

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).

The amended regulations extend employers’ and employees’ duties regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) to limb workers (a) & (b).

The changes mean that if PPE is required, employers must ensure all their workers have sufficient information, instruction and training on the use of PPE.

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 and currently do not come under the scope of PPER 1992.

A limb 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.

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.

Employees will be required to use the PPE properly following training and instruction from their employer. If the PPE provided is lost or becomes defective individual employees should report this to their employer.

So what does this mean for employers?

PPER 1992 continues to place 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.

As the changes to the regulations extends the duty to supply PPE to limb (b) workers employers need to carefully consider whether the change to UK law apply to them and their workforce and make the necessary preparations to comply.

Please note: These changes do not apply to those who have a ‘self-employed’ status.

In some jobs, failure to use PPE properly can be grounds for disciplinary action or even dismissal. However, an employee can refuse to wear PPE if it puts their safety at risk, because it doesn’t fit properly for example.

In such cases an employee must ask the employer or the firm’s safety representative for the right size or a suitable alternative.

The employer will be responsible for the maintenance, storage and replacement of any PPE they provide.

To ensure that all employees are provided with the correct PPE and know how to use it employees should maintain a record of items issued and training provided to individual employees. The record should also indicate where replacement items of PPE are issued and the reason for such replacement.

Were respiratory protection is needed employers should ensure face fit procedures are implemented undertaken by a competent person.  

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