From 6 April 2022 the regulations on wearing PPE at work have changed. Here, we explain what’s changing for who, why, and how to remain compliant.
The changes now extend employer’s and employee’s duties in respect of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to a wider group of workers, defined to include those who have more casual employment relationships than employees. These are known under The Employment Rights Act 1996 as limb (b) workers. Limb (a) workers – or those under a traditional contact of employment are already included but Limb (b) works would include those that:
- Carry out casual or irregular work for one or more organisations
- After 1 month of continuous service, receive holiday pay but not other employment rights such as the minimum period of statutory notice
- Only carry out work if they choose to
- Have a contract or other arrangement to do work or services personally for a reward (the contract doesn’t have to be written) and only have a limited right to send someone else to do the work, for example swapping shifts with someone on a pre-approved list (subcontracting)
- Are not in business for themselves (they do not advertise services directly to customers who can then also book their services directly).
It should be noted that these do not apply to those who have a ‘self-employed’ status.
The following existing obligations and requirements on employers and employees under the PPER 1992 will be extended to limb (b) workers:
- Regulation 4 requires an employer to provide suitable PPE to an employee where risks to the employee’s health and safety cannot be controlled by other means
- Regulation 5 requires an employer to ensure that where two (or more) pieces of PPE are worn simultaneously, they are compatible with each other
- Regulation 6 specifies that before choosing any PPE, an employer is required to make an assessment to determine whether the PPE they intend to provide will be suitable
- Regulation 7 requires employers to ensure that any PPE provided to their employees is maintained, or cleaned/replaced, as needed
- Regulation 8 requires an employer to ensure appropriate accommodation is provided for the PPE when it is not being used
- Regulation 9 requires employers to ensure that suitable information, instruction and training is provided to their employees who are required to wear PPE
- Regulation 10 requires employers to take all reasonable steps to ensure that PPE they provided is properly used. Employees are required to ensure the PPE they are provided with is used in accordance with the training and instructions they are given and take reasonable steps to ensure the PPE is returned to the accommodation provided after use
- Regulation 11 requires employees to report the loss or defect of PPE that has been provided to them.