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Employer PPE Duties Extended

phs Besafe
29 March 2022
 

One of the UK’s leading PPE suppliers is warning businesses of a change in personal protective equipment law which could catch them out if they are not prepared.

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.

Derek Brown, Managing Director of phs Besafe, one of the UK’s leading PPE providers, said: “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.”

In 2021 it was found that SMEs that defy health and safety regulations could face a fine 142 per cent higher than the yearly cost of complying with the measures. Analysts at health and safety consultancy Arinite revealed the average health and safety breach fine during 2020 was £106,984, versus an average yearly cost of £44,214 for an SME to meet guidelines.

 

"Substandard clothing and equipment puts workers, and your business, at risk."

 

 

– Derek Brown
Managing Director, phs Besafe

 

What Does PPE Cover?

 

PPE in recent years has become synonymous with COVID-protective apparal but relates to all equipment, including clothing that provides protection against the weather, that is 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," continued Derek Brown.

 

Cutting Corners Kills

 

“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.” 

Research shows that 20 per cent of all fatal and non-fatal injuries in the UK are head-related, yet head protection accounts for only three per cent of personal protective equipment purchases. We took a look at helmet regulations for Hard Hat Awareness Week 2021.

 

Picture: a worker washing a protective outfit, phs Besafe's PPE laundry service. Image credit: phs Besafe.

Article written by Bailey Sparkes | Published 29 March 2022

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