Proposed changes to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work regulations
Back in July, the HSE launched a formal 4-week consultation on amending the Personal Protective Equipment at Work regulations. The consultation has now ended (15 August 2021) and we wait to hear the results and when the proposed changed might come into force.
What is possibly changing?
At the moment, the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations (PPER) ensures that suitable PPE is provided to employees who might be exposed to health and safety risks at work. Under these regulations, it is the employer’s duty to provide the PPE to employees who are under employment. However, at the moment, ‘limb (b) workers’ – anyone not classed as an employee, are not required to be provided with PPE.
Why are the rules potentially changing?
Concerns have been raised in respect to the health and safety of workers in the gig economy, in particular during the pandemic. A High Court Judge ruled that the UK hadn’t properly implemented an EU directive that requires all companies to provide PPE to everyone who works for them.
What are they consulting on?
The consultation is to understand better the cost of training workers to use PPE, what types of PPE may be required and the wider impact and additional costs that may come with the change in regulations.
If agreed, what do the changes mean?
Employers will have a duty to provide PPE for employees and workers ‘limb (b) workers’. This could have a big impact on certain sectors such as healthcare, veterinary, manufacturing and construction who may use a large number of agency workers, contractors and subcontractors on projects.
Employers and agencies will need to prepare for an increase in costs to provide more workers with PPE, as well as training on how to use it. Some businesses may already provide PPE to all workers, if so, they will already be complying with the potential new regulations.
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