Skip to main content

Amendment to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 to come into force on 6 April 2022

What are the practical implications of the amendment for employers?

This week an amendment to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 was laid before Parliament which will extend the provisions of the legislation to casual workers (referred to as ‘limb (b) workers’).

The Employment Rights Act 1996 defines limb (b) as including workers who are contracted to perform work or provide services under any express or implied contract other than a contract of employment. Generally, limb (b) workers carry out casual / irregular work which may be for more than one organisation; they receive holiday pay, but not other employment rights such as the minimum period of statutory notice and they only carry out work if they choose to. They also typically are not in business for themselves.

The amendment comes in the wake of the High Court judgment in November 2020 which concluded that the UK had failed to adequately transpose two EU directives (Council Directive 89/391/EC (the Framework Directive) and Council Directive 89/656/EC (the PPE Directive)) and in doing so did not provide workers with the right not to be disadvantaged for taking steps in response to serious and imminent danger, neither did it provide employers with obligations to provide workers with suitable PPE.

The practical implications of the amendment will see employers required to provide PPE to casual workers free of charge in the same way as they would for employees, as well as being held responsible for the maintenance, storage and replacement of any PPE they provide. The HSE have published a guidance note for any employers who are set to be affected by the changes.

The views of the industry on the amendment were sought via a HSE consultation, the results of which can be seen here as published on 13 December 2021. 67% of respondents agreed that the amendment would beneficial.

For further advice speak to one of our regulatory defence lawyers specialising in health and safety.

Share on Twitter