April 2022 saw a shift in the 1992 Personal Protection Equipment at work Regulations (PPER). In short, the new regulations aim to protect workers on a wider scale. The responsibilities of employers have increased, in relation to the level of protection they must provide for their employees.
The 1992 PPER regulation
The 1992 Personal Protection Equipment at work Regulations:
“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”.– HSE –
This made employers responsible for providing PPE free of charge for employees. As well as storing PPE, maintaining it and replenishing stocks if PPE was damaged or lost.
These rules apply to all workplaces and hazardous situations. Including: helmets for construction sites, safety boots for road works, gloves for scientists and masks for surgeons.
However, this 1992 law was not inclusive in its use of the word ‘employees’. In the 1992 context an employee was someone who works for a company and has a contract of employment. Other forms of employment did not count.
The big change
Implementing the 2022 regulations has been a step towards a safer work environment. Thus, the new legislation makes employers responsible for providing PPE for their entire workforce no matter the type or length of contract. In sum, employers must supply essential PPE for all employees.
What’s the difference between a limb (a) and limb (b) worker?
Limb (a) workers are:
Employees with the above-mentioned contract of employment.
Limb (b) workers are:
Any other individuals working for the company. This can include – but is not limited to short term service contracts, irregular work and those with an oral/ written confirmation of the work they will carry out.
What to expect from the new PPER rules…?
If you are a limb (b) worker
- If necessary, PPE will be available for your use.
- You will receive training on how to safely use your PPE which will be updated if rules change.
- Sufficient information about PPE will be provided.
- Additional instruction about the PPE will be given e.g., how to store/clean the equipment.
If you employ limb (b) workers
- Training, instruction and information about the PPE in use must be provided for employees. This includes all individuals whether they are working for 1 day or for 5 years.
- Assess the possibility of risk in areas where limb (b) and (a) employees work, eliminate the risk or provide PPE for prevention.
- There must be PPE available for employees to use free of charge.
- PPE should be stored and maintained at the workplace.
- Any damaged or lost PPE items should be replaced.
HSE PPER inspectors
HSE inspectors already include assessment of PPE as part of their routine inspections. Under the new rules, HSE inspectors must check the PPE available to limb (b) staff.
Prosecution may ensue if limb (b) workers have not been provided with suitable PPE. Additionally, there will be consequences if adequate PPE training has not taken place.
Subsequently, enforcement action may take the form of verbal or written advice on how to rectify issues. However, serious cases can lead to enforcement notices or, in severe scenarios, prosecution of duty holders.
The 2022 Personal Protection Equipment at work Regulations (PPER) are a positive change. It highlights that it is vital to keep all individuals safe at work. Furthermore, this update is a triumph for workers. With this in mind, employers who value the safety of their teams will welcome the inclusion of limb (b) workers.
However, for employers who have a majority of limb (b) employees there will need to be a dramatic logistical shift. As a result, these companies will need to incorporate training, information, supply and maintenance of PPE in their workplace. A possibly daunting task.
If you have any queries about our FFP mask selection or need help purchasing from our website, do contact us via tel: 0333 0150 330 or email: email@example.com We are always happy to help.