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April 6, 2022

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PPE at work regulations updated

From 6 April 2022 the regulations on wearing PPE at work have changed. Here, we explain what’s changing for who, why and how to remain compliant. 

PPEThe updated Regulations apply to all employers in Great Britain in a wide range of sectors and industries. 

Workers are required to use the PPE properly following training and instruction from their employer. 

What do PPE regulation changes mean?

UK health and safety legislation does not currently have a definition of worker. Worker is defined in section 230(3) of the Employment Rights Act 1996. The definition has two ‘limbs’: limb (a) and limb (b).  

This Statutory Instrument creates its own definition of worker intended to capture both of these groups. 

Definition of worker 

Under this Statutory Instrument: 

‘“worker” means ‘an individual who has entered into or works under: 

  1. a contract of employment; or 
  2. 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.’ 

Generally, workers who come under limb (b): 

  • 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 (subcontracting) 
  • Are not in business for themselves (they do not advertise services directly to customers who can then also book their services directly).

It should be noted that these do not apply to those who have a ‘self-employed’ status. 

Judicial review

Following a judicial review case brought against the UK government, the High Court found that the UK had failed to fully implement two EU Directives: the Health and Safety Framework Directive (89/391/EEC) and the Personal Protective Equipment Directive (89/656/EEC), in domestic law, as protections were only applied to employees, whilst the court held, they should also extend to limb (b) workers. 

The changes made by this Instrument are in response to the judgment. 

What’s changed in new PPE regulations?

This Instrument amends the PPER 1992 in order to extend employers’ and employees’ duties in respect of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to a wider group of workers, defined to include those who have more casual employment relationships than employees.  

It amends Regulations 4 to 11 of PPER 1992 (see below) to extend the employers’ and employee’s duties in respect of PPE to limb (b) workers. The Employment Rights Act 1996 (Protection from Detriment in Health and Safety cases) (Amendment) Order 2021 came into force on 31 May 2021 in order to address the court judgment in relation to the Health and Safety Framework Directive (89/391/EEC). 

The duties under the PPER 1992 apply whilst an employee is at work. Section 52 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 provides the meaning for “work” and related expressions. This Instrument modifies the application of section 52 to the PPER 1992 to extend the meaning of work to capture all workers, as defined in this Instrument.  

Section 9 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places a general duty on employers not to charge employees for things done in pursuance of specific requirements of the relevant statutory provisions. This applies to requirements under the PPER 1992 as it is a relevant statutory provision. This Statutory Instrument modifies the application of section 9 to the PPER 1992 to ensure that limb (b) workers are not charged for PPE provided to them to ensure equality in the provisions between employees and limb (b) workers. 

Read: SHP’s complete guide to PPE

New PPE regulations – remaining compliant

Safety company Arco has compiled an expert guide to navigate this legislative change.

The amendment to the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992, indicates that employers have the extended responsibility to provide adequate protective equipment to ‘limb b workers’ in addition to their employees.

Limb (a) regards any individual directly employed by the company permanently.

Limb (b) encompasses those who are not employees but are contracted to provide a service or those on a more casual work contract.

Both limb (a) and limb (b) workers are responsible for ensuring that they use the PPE supplied to them, in line with the regulations, and that they follow the training they receive. Where necessary, workers must also make sure to return their PPE to appropriate storage and report any losses to their employer.

If a company is found in breach of regulations, HSE inspectors have the authority to caution, withdraw approvals, serve notices and, in severe instances, prosecute those that infringe the law.

Adam Wilcock, Category Manager at Arco, said: “As experts in safety, ensuring that every worker goes home safely has always been our core purpose, so we support the regulatory change that will see more workers protected with PPE. There are, however, several actions that employers will need to undertake to be fully compliant in line with the update to the regulation.’

“Our expert guidance has been created to make adapting to this legislative change as simple as possible so that no one is caught out or left unsafe.”

Arco’s in-depth guide detailing advice on navigating these legislative changes can be found here.

Extension of duties

This Instrument does not provide for any additional duties under the PPER 1992; rather it extends existing duties.  

The following existing obligations and requirements on employers and employees under the PPER 1992 will be extended to limb (b) workers: 

  • Regulation 4 requires an employer to provide suitable PPE to an employee where risks to the employee’s health and safety cannot be controlled by other means 
  • Regulation 5 requires an employer to ensure that where two (or more) pieces of PPE are worn simultaneously, they are compatible with each other
  • Regulation 6 specifies that before choosing any PPE an employer is required to make an assessment to determine whether the PPE they intend to provide will be suitable
  • Regulation 7 requires employers to ensure that any PPE provided to their employees is maintained, or cleaned/replaced, as needed
  • Regulation 8 requires an employer to ensure appropriate accommodation is provided for the when it is not being used 
  • Regulation 9 requires employers to ensure that suitable information, instruction and training is provided to their employees who are required to wear PPE 
  • Regulation 10 requires employers 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
  • Regulation 11 requires employees to report the loss or defect of PPE that has been provided to them. 

The Instrument also updates references to other legislation contained in the PPER 1992 that are out of date, namely: the Control of Lead Regulations 1980, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1988, and the Health and Safety (Application Outside Great Britain) Order 1989. 

To view the The Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022 amendments in full, click here.

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2 years ago

Does this include Covid, factory workers.