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PPE requirements to include casual and irregular workers

28 March 2022

On 6 April 2022 the Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022 come into force, which will amend the 1992 Regulations.

Under the new regulations the PPE duties and responsibilities on employers and employees under the old regulations will remain unchanged but will be extended to apply to other types of workers known as ‘limb b’ workers. ‘Limb a’ and ‘Limb b’ workers are defined under the new regulations as;

‘an individual who has entered into or works under –

  • (a) a contract of employment; or
  • (b) any other contract, whether express or implied and (if it is express) whether oral or in writing, whereby the individual undertakes to do or perform personally any work or services for another party to the contract whose status is not by virtue of the contract that of a client or customer of any profession or business undertaking carried on by the individual; and any references to a worker’s contract shall be construed accordingly.’

Examples of workers under ‘Limb b’ are given as workers who;

  • 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
  • are not in business for themselves

PPE is defined in the 1992 regulations 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’.

Where an employer finds PPE to be necessary after a risk assessment, using the hierarchy of controls, they have a duty to provide it free of charge.

Hierarchy of controls

The regulations confirm that PPE should be the last resort to protect against risks to health and safety and that employers should consider engineering controls and safe systems of work first.

Employers are advised to consider controls in the following order of effectiveness:

  • Elimination– physically remove the hazard
  • Substitution– replace the hazard
  • Engineering controls– isolate people from the hazard
  • Administrative controls– change the way people work
  • PPE – protect the worker with personal protective equipment

By 6 April 2022, employers need to ensure that there is no difference in the way PPE is provided to their workers. They should assess the risk and ensure suitable PPE is provided, when needed, to all people that fall under the definition of worker.

The PPE provided must be compatible, maintained and correctly stored.

Employers need to ensure they provide training and instruction in its use to all their workers and cannot charge workers for PPE they require to carry out their work.

All workers must use the PPE properly following training and instruction in its use from their employer. Workers should report to their employer if the PPE provided is lost or becomes defective.

Should you suffer an accident at work or develop an illness due to exposure to a chemical or allergen at work, please feel free to contact our Personal Injury team who have over 30 years’ experience of helping people recover compensation on 01270 762325 or PI@poolealcock.co.uk. We are happy to help.

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