Personal protective equipment (PPE) at work regulations from 6 April 2022 (2023)

This page explains changes to the scope of the PPE Regulations which apply from 6 April 2022. There is also basic advice on PPE at work.

  • Amended regulations
  • Duties unchanged but extended
  • Definitions of limb (a) and limb (b) workers
  • What PPE is
  • Hierarchy of controls
  • Employers with both employees and limb (b) workers
  • Employers with only limb (b) workers
  • How this legislation is enforced
  • PPE not regulated and enforced under PPER 1992

Amended regulations

On 6 April 2022 the Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022 (PPER 2022) came into force. They amend the 1992 Regulations (PPER 1992).

They extend employers’ and employees’ duties regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) to limb (b) workers.

Duties unchanged but extended

Under PPER 2022, the types of duties and responsibilities on employers and employees under PPER 1992 remain unchanged but are extended to limb (b) workers, as defined in PPER 2022.

If PPE is required, employers must ensure their workers have sufficient information, instruction and training on the use of PPE.

A limb (b) worker now has a duty to use the PPE in accordance with their training and instruction, and ensure it is returned to the storage area provided by their employer.

(Video) What is the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Regulation?

You can find guidance on the PPE duties in:

  • Personal protective equipment at work (L25)
  • Risk at work - personal protective equipment (PPE)

What this means for employers

PPER 1992 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.

PPER 2022 extends this duty to limb (b) workers and came into force on 6 April 2022. Employers need to carefully consider whether the changes to UK law apply to them and their workforce and make the necessary preparations to comply.

What this means for limb (b) workers

If a risk assessment indicates that a limb (b) worker requires PPE to carry out their work activities, the employer must carry out a PPE suitability assessment and provide the PPE free of charge as they do for employees.

The employer is responsible for the maintenance, storage and replacement of any PPE they provide. As a worker, you are required to use the PPE properly following training and instruction from your employer. If the PPE you provide is lost or becomes defective, you should report that to your employer.

Definitions of limb (a) and limb (b) workers

In the UK, section 230(3) of the Employment Rights Act 1996’s definition of a worker has 2 limbs:

  • Limb (a) describes those with a contract of employment. This group are employees under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and are already in scope of PPER 1992
  • Limb (b) describes workers who generally have a more casual employment relationship and work under a contract for service – they do not currently come under the scope of PPER 1992

PPER 2022 draws on this definition of worker and captures both employees and limb (b) workers:

(Video) Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Category Regulation

‘“worker” means ‘an individual who has entered into or works under –

  • (a)a contract of employment; or
  • (b)any other contract, whether express or implied and (if it is express) whether oral or in writing, whereby the individual undertakes to do or perform personally any work or services for another party to the contract whose status is not by virtue of the contract that of a client or customer of any profession or business undertaking carried on by the individual;

and any references to a worker’s contract shall be construed accordingly.’

General duties of limb (b) workers

Generally, workers who come under limb (b):

  • carry out casual or irregular work for one or more organisations
  • after 1 month of continuous service, receive holiday pay but not other employment rights such as the minimum period of statutory notice
  • only carry out work if they choose to
  • have a contract or other arrangement to do work or services personally for a reward (the contract doesn’t have to be written) and only have a limited right to send someone else to do the work, for example swapping shifts with someone on a pre-approved list (subcontracting)
  • are not in business for themselves (they do not advertise services directly to customers who can then also book their services directly)

As every employment relationship will be specific to the individual and employer, the precise status of any worker can ultimately only be determined by a court or tribunal.

Please note: These changes do not apply to those who have a ‘self-employed’ status.

More on employment status (GOV.UK website)

What PPE is

PPE is defined in the PPER 1992 as ‘all equipment (including clothing affording protection against the weather) which is intended to be worn or held by a person at work and which protects the person against one or more risks to that person’s health or safety, and any addition or accessory designed to meet that objective’.

(Video) Personal Protective Equipment part 1

Where an employer finds PPE to be necessary after a risk assessment, using the hierarchy of controls explained below, they have a duty to provide it free of charge.

Hierarchy of controls

PPE should be regarded as the last resort to protect against risks to health and safety. Engineering controls and safe systems of work should be considered first.

Consider controls in the following order, with elimination being the most effective and PPE being the least effective:

  • Elimination – physically remove the hazard
  • Substitution – replace the hazard
  • Engineering controls – isolate people from the hazard
  • Administrative controls – change the way people work
  • PPE – protect the worker with personal protective equipment

Employers with both employees and limb (b) workers

From 6 April 2022, you need to ensure that there is no difference in the way PPE is provided to your workers, as defined by PPER 2022. This means assessing the risk and ensuring suitable PPE is provided, when needed, to all people that fall under the definition of worker.

The PPE provided must be compatible, maintained and correctly stored. All workers must use the PPE properly following training and instruction in its use from their employer. If the PPE you provide is lost or becomes defective, your worker should report that to you.

Employers with only limb (b) workers

You need to ensure that your workers are provided with PPE free of charge, where required, from 6 April 2022. This means assessing the residual risk once all other measures (such as engineering controls) have been taken.

You then need to ensure suitable PPE is:

(Video) DAFRider PPE Chat

  • provided
  • compatible
  • maintained
  • correctly stored
  • used properly

You also need to provide training and instruction in its use to all your workers. You cannot charge workers for PPE they require to carry out their work.

How this legislation is enforced

HSE inspectors already include assessment of PPE as part of their routine inspections. Enforcement action can range from verbal or written advice to enforcement notices and, in the most serious cases, prosecution of dutyholders.

PPE not regulated and enforced under PPER 1992

Workers may be required to wear items of PPE under legislation other than PPER 1992. For example, crash helmets worn by workers on the road which is legally required under road traffic legislation.

The full list of circumstances where PPER 1992 do not apply is contained in regulation 3.

PPE that is required to reduce risks arising from the following is regulated and enforced under regulations other than the PPER 1992.

These risks include those from:

  • lead exposure
  • ionising radiation
  • asbestos
  • noise
  • substances hazardous to health (for example chemicals, fumes, dusts, non-water vapours, nanotechnology, and/or gases)


  • Personal protective equipment at work (L25)
  • Risk at work - personal protective equipment (PPE)
(Video) personal protective equipment | PPE meaning | Regulations Require | Assessing suitable PPE |

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Are employers are required to make PPE available to employees in the workplace? ›

Many Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards require employers to provide personal protective equipment, when it is necessary to protect employees from job-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.

What are the 6 PPE items personal protection equipment you need on a construction site? ›

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Construction
  • Protective gloves.
  • Hearing protection.
  • Full face shields when cutting, grinding, or chipping.
  • Chemical splash goggles.
  • Respiratory protection.
  • Fall protection equipment when working above 6 feet.

What PPE is required by OSHA for employers? ›

Employers Must Pay for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

completely voluntary. Even when a worker provides his or her own PPE, the employer must ensure that the equipment is adequate to protect the worker from hazards at the workplace.

What is OSHA standard for PPE use? ›

Ordinary clothing, skin creams, or other items, used solely for protection from weather, such as winter coats, jackets, gloves, parkas, rubber boots, hats, raincoats, ordinary sunglasses, and sunscreen. The employer must pay for replacement PPE, except when the employee has lost or intentionally damaged the PPE.

Can an employee refuse to wear PPE? ›

If a worker will not wear their PPE without good reason – despite your attempts to accommodate them – it can be considered gross misconduct and dismissal is allowed. (Read more about dismissal later in the article). Don't wait until an accident at work frightens people into finally wearing their PPE.

Can you be fired for not wearing PPE? ›

Yes. Your employer can tell you to wear safety equipment (such as gloves, a visor or boots) and if you don't, they are entitled to take disciplinary action, including excluding you from the workplace.

What are the 6 basic PPE? ›

Components of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Gloves. Gloves help protect you when directly handling potentially infectious materials or contaminated surfaces.
  • Gowns. ...
  • Shoe and Head Covers. ...
  • Masks and Respirators. ...
  • Other Face and Eye Protection.
Oct 20, 2022

What are the 7 types of protection provided by PPE? ›

What Are the Seven Types of PPE?
  • Head Protection. Typical Forms: Hard hats, bump caps, and headwear. ...
  • Eye Protection. Typical Forms: Safety glasses, welding helmets, face shields. ...
  • Hearing Protection. Typical Forms: Earmuffs, earplugs. ...
  • Hand Protection. ...
  • Respiratory Protection. ...
  • Foot and Leg Protection. ...
  • Body Protection.
Sep 9, 2020

What 4 Things do the PPE at Work Regulations require? ›

It is also required that PPE is:
  • Properly assessed before use to ensure suitability;
  • Maintained and stored properly;
  • Provided with instructions on how to use it safely; and.
  • Used correctly by employees.

What are the rules about the use of PPE in the workplace? ›

By law, workers must use personal protective equipment in the workplace when it is required. Employer responsibilities include providing instruction on what PPE is needed, maintenance and cleaning of the equipment, and educating and training workers on proper use of PPE.

What PPE are required for work? ›

Personal protective equipment may include items such as gloves, safety glasses and shoes, earplugs or muffs, hard hats, respirators, or coveralls, vests and full body suits.

What are the legal requirements for PPE? ›

Every employer shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to his employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work except where and to the extent that such risk has been adequately controlled by other means which are equally or more effective.

Does OSHA require you to wear pants? ›

While the standard does not specify any particular kind of protection, such as long pants, employers do have the responsibility to decide which workers are exposed to the hazard and thus require protective clothing and which methods should be used to comply with the standard.

What is the most common reason employees don't comply with PPE safety rules? ›

Employees most often didn't wear PPE because they simply didn't want to, according to the survey. Over 70% of those surveyed indicated employees had communicated that sentiment, while half said employees didn't think PPE was necessary or that it made the job more difficult.

Can you force someone to wear PPE? ›

If employees refuse to wear PPE, they're essentially choosing to accept the risk of injury. However, employees don't have the authority to make that choice. Employers require PPE not only because it prevents injuries, but because federal regulations require employers to provide PPE and enforce its use.

Can I wear my own safety shoes at work? ›

Can I wear my own safety shoes at work? The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 states that if a risk has been identified and cannot be controlled in any other way, protective equipment must be provided by the employer, including footwear.

Can I be disciplined for not wearing a mask at work? ›

A refusal to wear a face covering by an employee can be deemed as misconduct as it is a failure to comply with a reasonable request. However, each case would need to be looked at individually, as dismissal may not always be deemed fair; a final warning or written warning may be seen as a more reasonable response.

Can my employer insist I wear a mask? ›

Wearing a mask or face covering at work

If your employer tells you to wear a mask or face covering at work, you normally have to. Tell your employer if you can't wear a mask or face covering, for example if: wearing one makes you extremely anxious.

Do I have to wear safety glasses at work? ›

If you are working in an area that has particles, flying objects or dust, you must at least wear safety glasses with side protection (side shields). If you are working with chemicals, you must wear goggles.

What is the most important PPE? ›

Hand Protection

Chemically protective gloves are one of the most important tools to minimize dermal exposures to chemicals in research laboratories. Gloves should only be used under the specific conditions for which they are designed, as no glove is impervious to all chemicals.

What is the most important item of PPE? ›

1. Protective Clothing. If a worker is working around hazardous substances like hot oil, hot water, welding sparks, etc. then protective clothing like a coverall is important to have on the list of must wear PPE.

What are the three main safety features of PPE? ›

PPE includes gloves, respiratory protection, eye protection, and protective clothing.

What are the 4 levels of PPE? ›

Levels of PPE
  • Full-face or half-mask, air-purifying respirator (NIOSH approved).
  • Chemical resistant clothing (one piece coverall, hooded two piece chemical splash suit, chemical resistant hood and apron, disposable chemical resistant coveralls.)
  • Gloves, outer, chemical resistant.
  • Gloves, inner, chemical resistant.
Nov 16, 2022

What is the main requirements main requirement of the PPE at Work Regulations 1992? ›

The main requirement of the PPE at Work Regulations 1992 is that personal protective equipment is to be supplied and used at work wherever there are risks to health and safety that cannot be adequately controlled in other ways.

Who is responsible for maintaining PPE? ›

When employees use their own PPE, the employer is responsible for assuring its adequacy, including proper maintenance, and sanitation of such equipment.

What PPE is not required? ›

Uniforms, caps, or other clothing worn solely to identify a person as an employee would not be considered PPE because such items are not being worn for protection from a workplace hazard. Similarly, items worn to keep employees clean for purposes unrelated to safety or health are not considered PPE.

What are PPE in construction? ›

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) includes all equipment (even those used to protect against adverse weather conditions) used to protect employees from health and safety risks they might encounter at work, including injuries to the lungs, head, eyes, ears and skin.

What PPE is mandated on a construction site? ›

The minimum personal protection equipment that is required to be worn while on a construction site is a hard hat, safety glasses, and footwear appropriate for a construction site.

What is personal protective equipment use in construction? ›

These are designed to protect the user or wearer against any health or safety risks at work. items like safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and harnesses. There are different types of PPE equipment used across construction sites, a few of them are discussed below.

What are 10 PPE approved equipment that must be worn while operating tools safely? ›

Below is a list of essential PPE that might be required within a manufacturing organization.
  • Hard Hats. ...
  • Leggings, Foot Guards, and Safety Shoes. ...
  • Earplugs and Earmuffs. ...
  • Gloves. ...
  • Eye Protection. ...
  • Surgical Face Masks. ...
  • Respirators. ...
  • Face Shields.
Nov 3, 2020


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