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Employers’ responsibilities regarding provision of PPE

12 Jan 2022 | Technical News

On 6 April 2022 employers and employees’ duties regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) will be extended to a category of worker known as ‘limb (b) workers’, as the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Amendment Regulations 2022 (PPER 2022) comes into force and supersedes the 1992 Regulations (PPER 1992). 

Whilst the types of duties and responsibilities on employers and employees under PPER 1992 will remain unchanged, employers need to carefully consider whether the change to UK law will apply to them and their workforce and make the necessary preparations to comply.

Definition of limb (a) and limb (b) workers

Section 230(3) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 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. 

Limb (b) workers generally:

  • 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)

Note: These changes do not apply to those who have a ‘self-employed’ status.

Action for employers with limb (b) workers

Employers need to ensure their limb (b) workers are provided with PPE free of charge, where required, by 6 April 2022.  This means assessing the residual risk once all other measures have been taken. 

Suitable PPE must be:

·   provided

·   compatible

·   maintained

·   correctly stored

·   used properly

Employers must also provide training and instruction in the use of PPE to all workers. Employers cannot charge workers for PPE they require to carry out their work.


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