Are changes to the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992 coming? Will you be affected?

There are changes on the horizon with regards the current specific requirements for employers with respect to provision of personal protective equipment or PPE. In this article, The Compliance People Consultant, Mick Baah, briefly looks at the potential changes to The Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992 (PPER).

So what is potentially changing?

The application of the requirements of the PPER 1992 for employers to extend their arrangements for provision of PPE to “workers” and not just employees. This means for example, that employers may potentially be required to provide PPE to their on-site resident contractors who are carrying out work on the employer’s behalf if so required.

Why the change?

Findings from a judicial review carried out in November 2020 brought by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) against the Secretaries of State for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Work and Pension (DWP). The review found that the UK Government failed to transpose key requirements of the Council Directive 89/391/EC (“the Framework Directive)” and Council Directive 89/656/EC (the PPE Directive) respectively via PPER 1992. N.B. “The Framework Directive” sets out the minimum standards for health and safety through a series of general principles), and “the PPE Directive” sets out the minimum health and safety requirements for the use of personal protective equipment in the workplace for workers.

So what is the definition of workers?

Also known as limb (b), workers are those individuals who are registered as self-employed but provide a service as part of someone else’s business and must carry out the work personally rather than being able to send someone in their place, i.e., they are not independent contractors).

What happens now?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have commissioned a consultation which commenced on Monday 19th July with the aim of understanding the impact on stakeholders and businesses of extending the scope of the employers’ duties under the PPER 1992 to cover workers and not only employees. This consultation is due to last for 4 weeks. You can access further details of the consultation at https://consultations.hse.gov.uk/hse/cd289-amends-ppe-work-regs-1992/

In summary:

  • Be aware that significant changes to The PPE Regulations 1992 could be on the way.
  • The scope of PPER 1992 could be changed to cover “workers” as opposed to only employees.
  • Consultation on the changes are currently ongoing with the aim of establishing the impact on businesses.

If you need more help, why not get in touch with us? - Our professional team of consultants offer independent, periodic compliance evaluations for both environment and health & safety.