As the Health and Safety Executive explain:
“PPE is defined in the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations (PPER) 1992 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’
In the UK, section 230(3) of the Employment Rights Act 1996’s definition of a worker has 2 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 – they do not currently come under the scope of PPER 1992.”
Effectively what the change means is that if a risk assessment indicates any limb (b) worker activities require them to use PPE, the employer:
- Must undertake a suitability assessment;
- provide any necessary PPE, free of charge;
- suitably train the individuals in the use of the PPE; and
- take responsibility for maintenance, storage and replacement of the PPE they provide.
Employers will need to identify where and how these new changes apply to them and take the appropriate action. The changes do not apply to those who have a ‘self-employed’ status.
Further information on the changes can be found at - Personal protective equipment (PPE) at work regulations from 6 April 2022 (hse.gov.uk)