New regs mean free PPE for casual workers

From 6 April 2022 amended PPE regulations require employers to provide more of their workers with free PPE, if used.

Previously the 1992 PPE Regulations placed 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.

The new regulations, the Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022 (PPER 2022), extends that duty to workers who generally have a more casual employment relationship and work under a contract for service, officially known as “limb (b) workers”.

As with employees, if PPE is required, employers must ensure that workers have sufficient information, instruction and training on its use. Workers 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. Where an employer finds PPE to be necessary after a risk assessment they have a duty to provide it free of charge.

The changes do not apply to those who have a ‘self-employed’ status.

PPE is defined in the PPER 1992 and is unchanged in the amendment. It means ‘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’

PPER 2022 restate the 1992 Regulations which say that PPE should be regarded as the last resort to protect against risks to health and safety. Engineering controls and safe systems of work should be considered first.

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