From 6 April 2022, the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 2022 will extend employers’ PPE duties, requiring them to provide appropriate equipment for free to casual workers, who were not previously covered under the same regulations that have been in force since 1992.
The new regulations now include ‘limb (b)’ workers, who are generally considered to be those who carry out casual or irregular work for an organisation, and work under a contract of service but are not self-employed.
However, as every employment relationship is different and specific to the worker and the employer, the definition in the new regulations does leave some grey areas that employers need to be careful of. I’d say this is a case of better to be safe, than sorry.
PPE includes all equipment, including clothing that provides protection against the weather, worn or held by a person at work, which protects them against any risks to their health or safety. Regulations state that employers must undertake a risk assessment for all workers to ensure the correct PPE is provided, and it must be free of charge. PPE must also be appropriately maintained and stored, and the correct training given to workers to ensure it is used properly.
PPE requirements for casual workers will be an additional responsibility that many businesses may not be aware of, but they must treat them in the same way as their workers who have a contract of employment from 6 April.
It’s important not to cut corners when it comes to PPE and to get an experienced provider who can ensure you are compliant with the new regulations. Workwear must meet the relevant health and safety standards, so every item must conform. Substandard clothing and equipment puts workers, and your business, at risk. You’ll also want to ensure that garments fit correctly, and are comfortable to wear, so that workers can carry out their jobs to the best of their ability.
You will also want your garments to last, and for their protective qualities to stay effective for as long as possible, so how the garments are cared for and laundered are important factors to consider as you extend your responsibilities in line with the new regulations