PPE Regulations amended to include casual workers

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 will be amended from 6 April to extend employers’ and employees’ duties in respect of Personal Protective Equipment to a wider group of workers, defined to include those who have more casual employment relationships than employees.

By 6 April 2022, employers need to ensure that there is no difference in the way PPE is provided to its workers. The risk must be assessed and suitable PPE must be provided, when needed, to all people that fall under the definition of worker.

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 come under the scope of PPER 1992 from 6 April

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022 extend the existing obligations and requirements on employers and employees under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (PPER 1992) to workers who have casual employment relationships than employees and work under a contract for service:

  • an employer is required to provide suitable personal protective equipment (“PPE”) to an employee where risks to the employee’s health and safety cannot be controlled by other means
  • an employer is required to ensure that where two (or more) pieces of PPE are worn simultaneously, they are compatible with each other
  • before choosing any PPE an employer is required to make an assessment to determine whether the PPE they intend to provide will be suitable
  • employers are required to ensure that any PPE provided to their employees is maintained, or cleaned/replaced, as needed
  • an employer is required to ensure appropriate accommodation is provided for the when it is not being used
  • employers are required to ensure that suitable information, instruction and training is provided to their employees who are required to wear PPE
  • employers are required to take all reasonable steps to ensure that PPE they provided is properly used. Employees are required to ensure the PPE they are provided 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
  • employees are required to report the loss or defect of PPE that has been provided to them

Guidance on the Regulations is available here.

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