Updates to Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations from April 6th 2022

From 6th April 2022 Personal Protective Equipment must be provided to all workers in the UK where necessary.

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022 (PPER 2022) take effect from 6th April 2022. This extends the rights outlined in PPER 1992 to include limb (b) workers. From 6th April 2022 all workers, including limb (b) workers, must be provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) where necessary.

The updated regulations replace references to “employees” with “workers” meaning that from 6th April 2022, all workers, including limb (b) workers, must be provided with Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) at work.

The new references to workers mean that the regulations include anyone that works both:

A) Under a contract of employment OR

B) Under a contract, whether express or implied, and whether oral or in writing, whereby an individual undertakes to do work personally for another party of the contract who is not the client or customer of the work being performed by the individual

E.g. workers who perform casual or irregular work e.g. agency or short-term workers and workers who only carry out work if they choose to do so

The Health and Safety Executive define a limb (b) worker as:

A ‘limb (b) worker’ can be understood as a ‘dependent contractor’. A ‘worker’ is registered as self-employed but provides a service as part of someone else’s business. They generally must carry out the work personally, rather than being able to send someone in their place.

From 6th April 2022 Employers must ensure that all workers (not just Employees) are provided with the same PPE and are trained in how to use this equipment properly. In preparation, it would be useful to explore all the types of workers in your organisation to ensure you understand which workers now fall into these regulations.

What is PPE?

PPE should be provided to workers in addition to, as opposed to instead of, other Health and Safety controls.

PPER 1992 defines PPE 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.”

Examples may therefore include safety helmets, gloves, eye protection etc. However, not all clothing and equipment worn at work will necessarily be PPE, it must be protective against a specified risk.

Some PPE is also covered by other more specific legislation such as crash helmets and equipment to protect against risks from ionising radiation, asbestos, and substances hazardous to health and noise. Face coverings, previously under coronavirus legislation, also do not fall under PPER.

Employers already have a duty to those not in their employment to manage health and safety risks created by their work activities which may include providing PPE, however, the changes taking effect on 6th April 2022 make these duties specific and enforceable.

If PPE is needed to reduce health and safety risks in the workplace, then it is the employer’s duty to provide this and ensure it is maintained, used, and stored correctly. This is the duty of the Employer and not of the worker.

PPE must be provided by the employer free of charge to all workers included in the new regulations.

Perhaps take this opportunity to review all ways risks can be controlled in your workplace as well as reviewing what PPE you need to supply to who, how this is maintained, and how all workers and employees are trained in using and storing their PPE.

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