Employers will soon have to provide PPE free of charge to non-employees, explains Zoe Betts

Health and safety obligations on employers are to be expanded as a result of planned changes to Great Britain’s (GB’s) Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (PPE Regulations). An amended set of regulations was laid before Parliament on 10 January 2022 and the legislative changes will come into effect on 6 April 2022.

PPE is defined in the regulations 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”. The PPE Regulations impose a general duty on GB employers to ensure that suitable PPE is provided free of charge to employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work, where the risk cannot be adequately controlled using other reasonably practicable measures. Consequently, employers currently only have a duty to provide suitable PPE to employees who work under a contract of employment. The proposed changes to the PPE Regulations would extend the duty beyond employees by including ‘limb (b)’ workers (explained below).

The pla

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