PPE laws are changing

PPE laws are changing occupational health news

PPE laws have changed

The laws that businesses must follow when providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for employees changed on the 6th April 2022. The law changed to extend the scope of PPE provision that employers must provide.

What changed?

Previous PPE laws (PPER 1992placed a duty on employers to ensure that suitable PPE was provided to employees who may have been exposed to a health or safety risk while at work.

The new Regulations (PPER 2022) extend that duty to all workers. This includes those who have a casual employment relationship, or work under a contract for service.

Employers are advised to consider whether the change to the law applies their workforce and take the necessary steps to comply, as the costs associated with breaching the law can be huge.

Who does the new law cover?

The new Regulations covers all workers with a contract of employment, as well as those with any other contract, whether express or implied, either orally or in writing.

As every employment relationship is specific to the individual and employer, the exact status of any worker can only be determined by a Court or Tribunal.

However, the HSE has provided examples showing who the new law will apply to, which includes those 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 (sub-contracting)
  • are not in business for themselves (they do not advertise services directly to customers who can then also book their services directly)

Does the new PPE law apply to self-employed workers?

No. The new Regulations do not apply to those who have self-employed status. More information about employment status is available on the Governments’ website.

What does it mean for employers?

From April 6th all UK employers must carry our risk assessments to identity any risks to workers. If the risk assessment indicates that PPE should be worn, employers must then carry out a PPE suitability assessment.

In addition:

  • PPE must be provided, free of charge, to all workers
  • The employer is responsible for the maintenance, storage and replacement of any PPE
  • Businesses must provide training and instruction in how to use PPE
  • Employers must repair or replace lost or defective PPE

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.”

From now all UK employers must ensure that there is no difference in the way PPE is provided to workers, as defined by the new Regulations.

PPE is defined in the Regulations as “all equipment (including clothing affording protection against the weather) which is intended

How will the new law be enforced?

HSE inspectors can enter any UK business premises at any time. They already often include assessment of PPE as part of routine inspections.

Enforcement actions can range from verbal or written advice to enforcement notices, which obliged employers to act. In the most serious cases, the HSE can criminally prosecute employers too.

Other laws covering PPE also apply to employers with specific risks, such as for those working on roads, with radiation, lead exposure, asbestos, noise or substances hazardous to health (like chemicals, fumes, dust or gases etc).


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