Business management

New rules on PPE: what is changing and what should you do

Businesses will have to provide PPE and relevant training to a wider category of worker. Here are the main points you need to know.

Key takeaways

  • New personal protective equipment regulations come into force from 6 April 2022
  • Employers may need to extend their provision of PPE to casual workers
  • Equipment must be well-maintained and workers will need to know how to use it correctly 

“Employers must already provide PPE to most workers, including full- or part-time employees, so that they are protected against health and safety risks,” says Natalie Nelson, Technical Advice Lead at Mentor. Examples include safety helmets, gloves, goggles and high-visibility clothing, as well as respiratory protective equipment (RPE). Already, employers must ensure their workers have sufficient access, information, instruction and training on the use of PPE.

“The main change in these new regulations is who is now covered: what the Employment Rights Act 1996 defines as ‘limb (b) workers’, or those with a more casual employment relationship to the employer and work under a contract for service.” 

What does this mean for your business?

What does this mean for your business?

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE): “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.”

Mentor’s Natalie Wilson adds: “Businesses should also remember that, as the employer, they are responsible for the maintenance, storage and replacement of the PPE they provide.”

Advice from the HSE:

  • The PPE provided must be compatible, maintained and correctly stored
  • All workers must use the PPE properly following training and instruction in its use from their employer
  • If the PPE you provide is lost or becomes defective, your worker should report that to you

“For many businesses, these changes won’t be major,” adds Natalie. “It is relatively simple to use the approach you take to limb (a) workers and extend it to the casual limb (b). However, some businesses that use only limb (b) might find they need help in two ways: understanding the new laws and what onus is now placed upon them; and, putting in place a set of policies that keep workers safe.”

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