PPE Regulations 1992 places 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.
PPE Regulations 2022 extends this duty to limb (b) workers and comes into force on 6 April 2022. Employers need to carefully consider whether the change to UK law apply to them and their workforce and make the necessary preparations to comply.
What this means for limb (b) workers?
If a risk assessment indicates that a limb (b) worker requires PPE to carry out their work activities, the employer must carry out a PPE suitability assessment and provide the PPE free of charge as they do for employees.The employer will be responsible for the maintenance, storage and replacement of any PPE they provide. As a worker, you will be required to use the PPE properly following training and instruction from your employer. If the PPE you provide is lost or becomes defective, you should report that to your employer. You must ensure it is returned to the storage area provided by your employer.
Definitions of limb (a) and limb (b) workers.
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.