The HSE is consulting on changes to the PPER 1992. The consultation launched on 19 July 2021 and will run for 4 weeks.
The consultation can be accessed via the HSE Consultation Hub from this date. Click here.
The aim of the consultation is to understand the impact on stakeholders and businesses of extending the scope of the employers’ duties under the PPER to workers and not only employees.
Why is the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) making changes to the regulations?
In November 2020, a judgment was handed down in the judicial review action in the High Court 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), which decided that the government had failed to properly transpose Article 8(4) and 8(5) of EU Directive 89/391/EEC (“the Framework Directive”) and Article 3 of EU Directive 89/656/EEC of 30 November 1989 (“the Personal Protective Equipment Directive”) into UK law.
The Framework Directive sets out the minimum standards for health and safety through a series of general principles, and the Personal Protective Equipment Directive (“PPE Directive”) sets out the minimum health and safety requirements for the use of personal protective equipment in the workplace for workers.
The UK implemented the PPE Directive through the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (“PPER”) which places duties on employers to their ‘employees’ in regard to PPE. The High Court found that the PPE Directive required these duties to be extended to ‘limb (b) workers’ and not only ‘employees’. Therefore, the HSE is making amendments to the PPER in order to align with the court’s judgment.
What does this mean?
Employers will have a duty to provide limb (b) workers with the same health and safety protections in respect of PPE as they do currently for employees.
Options on how to achieve the extension of the provisions to workers in the legislation will not be presented during the consultation as the key legislative changes are being made to align with the court decision.
HSE July 2021