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Knowledge Base » Health and Safety » What are the 2022 Amendments to the PPE at Work Regulations?

What are the 2022 Amendments to the PPE at Work Regulations?

Last updated on 20th December 2023

It is a legal requirement for employers to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) free of charge if their risk assessment identifies it is needed to protect employees’ health and safety while at work. Employees also have legal duties to use PPE correctly and report any issues to their employer.

The laws surrounding PPE provision and use go back to the last century with the Factories Act and other industry-specific legislation. In 1992, a PPE regulation was created under the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974. It consolidated the previous legislation relating to personal protective equipment, making it easier for duty holders to follow and comply with the law.

Over time, and with previous influences from the European Union (EU), the PPE at Work Regulations have been subject to amendments. The most recent change was in April 2022, which included the legal requirement to provide PPE to casual workers, not previously covered by the 1992 regulations. These changes now mean employers not only have duties to employees on a permanent contract, but they now also have to provide PPE to employees on other contract types. It also means that casual workers have new responsibilities under the amended legislation.

The amendments are an important step in protecting these types of workers, and they are not a small number of workers by any means, for example:

  • According to 2021 TUC research, 4.4 million people work for gig economy (e.g. short-term contracts and freelance work) platforms at least once a week in England and Wales.
  • The number of 16- to 64-year-old employees in temporary employment was 1,438,900, which was 6% of all working-age people (GOV.UK, Sept 2022).
  • Statista state that in 2022 there were approximately 1.03 million people on zero-hours contracts in the UK, compared with 919,000 in the previous year.

In this article, you will look at PPE and what it is, the associated regulations and who has what duties. You will also cover the recent amendments with the introduction of the PPE at Work Regulations 2022.

What is PPE?

“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 them against one or more risks to their health or safety, and any addition or accessory designed to meet that objective.”

In simpler terms, PPE is equipment that personally protects an individual from various health and safety hazards they may encounter during their work, for example:

Eye protection

Eye/face protection

  • Examples include safety glasses, goggles, visors, hoods and shields.
  • Protects against chemical splashes, flying particles, sparks and radiation that could injure workers’ eyes and faces.

Head protection

  • Examples include safety helmets and bump caps.
  • Protects against falling objects or bumping head on sharp objects that could cause head injuries.

Hand/arm protection

  • Examples include gloves, sleeves and gauntlets with various safety features, e.g. anti-cut/puncture, chemical resistant, heat resistant, flame/fire retardant, etc.
  • Protects hands and arms from various injuries and hazardous substances.

Body protection

  • Examples include overalls (or coveralls), aprons, boiler suits, trousers, jackets, etc.
  • Protects workers from chemical, physical and thermal hazards.

High-visibility clothing

  • Examples include high-vis jackets, vests, trousers and other clothing.
  • Increases workers’ visibility where there are moving vehicles and/or low lighting.

Respiratory protection

  • Examples include respiratory protective equipment (RPE), such as face masks, respirators, hoods and breathing apparatus.
  • Protects workers from inhaling hazardous substances, e.g. dust, mist, gas or fume, that could cause acute or chronic ill health.

Safety footwear

  • Examples include safety boots, shoes and wellingtons with various safety features, e.g. steel toe caps, chemical resistance, anti-static, non-slip, etc.
  • Protects workers from numerous hazards that could injure their feet.

Hearing protection

  • Examples include earmuffs and earplugs.
  • Protects workers from excessive noise that could cause temporary and permanent harm to their hearing.

Thermal protection

  • Examples include gloves, jackets, undergarments, hats, trousers, etc.
  • Protects workers from extreme hot and cold environments.

Fall protection

  • Examples include harnesses and lanyards (fall arrest or restraint).
  • Protects workers from falling when working at height and from sustaining injury if they do fall.
Fall protection equipment

The hierarchy of control

It is important to note that PPE only protects the user. Therefore, it should not be the first choice when controlling the risks. The hierarchy of control outlines the measures that employers should consider first (top to bottom order), for example:

  • Elimination – physically remove the hazard.
  • Substitution – replace the hazard with something less hazardous.
  • Engineering controls – isolate people from the hazard.
  • Administrative controls – change the way in which employees work to prevent them from coming into contact with the hazard.
  • PPE – use personal protective equipment to protect the employee.

Employers should be looking at the top controls before considering PPE because it:

  • Only protects the user; the employer should be considering solutions that protect the workforce as a whole.
  • Can be damaged, worn out and interfered with by workers and others.
  • May not be worn or may be worn incorrectly.
  • May not fit properly or may be incompatible with other types of PPE.
  • Is difficult to assess the actual level of protection.
  • Can create other hazards for users, particularly if it limits movement or affects visibility.

PPE is still important when hazards remain after the application of collective control measures. It can also complement other precautions where the risk assessment identifies it is required to further reduce the risks of ill health or injury.

Who needs to comply with the PPE regulations?

PPER 1992

  • Employers, self-employed workers and employees all have legal duties. Their previous duties remain unchanged with the amendments.

PPER 1992

  • The amendments have extended employers’ duties to include ‘limb (b) workers’.
  • Employees classed as ‘limb (b) workers’ now have duties and responsibilities under the regulations.

You will look at these duties in the following sections.

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations (PPER) 1992 came into force in Great Britain on 1st January 1993. Similar provisions are made in Northern Ireland under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1993.

As mentioned, employers, employees and self-employed workers have duties under the regulations.

Employer duties

Employers have numerous duties under the PPER 1992.

They must ensure that:

  • PPE is risk assessed before use, adequate for health and safety risks and fit for purpose.
  • PPE is of a correct standard for the health and safety risks, i.e. the type should conform to appropriate British, European and International standards.
  • PPE provided is compatible with other types of PPE where more than one health and safety risk is present.
  • PPE is maintained (e.g. cleaned, disinfected, repaired/replaced and inspected) in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.
  • Suitable accommodation is provided for workers to store their PPE, which protects the equipment from damage and contamination.
  • Employees have sufficient instructions, information and training on how to use PPE.
  • PPE provided to workers is being properly used.

Employer duties

Employees also have duties under the PPER 1992.

They must:

  • Use PPE in accordance with the training and instructions given by their employer.
  • Report any defects or loss of PPE to their employer.

Some types of self-employed workers also have duties under the PPER 1992. However, as the 2022 amendments do not apply to those with ‘self-employed’ status, we will not cover their responsibilities in this article. Further information on self-employed persons’ duties is in the PPE Approved Code of Practice (ACOP).

Self-employed worker duties

Some types of self-employed workers also have duties under the PPER 1992. However, as the 2022 amendments do not apply to those with ‘self-employed’ status, we will not cover their responsibilities in this article. Further information on self-employed persons’ duties is in the PPE Approved Code of Practice (ACOP).

Where does PPER 1992 not apply?

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations (PPER) 1992 does not apply to all circumstances where PPE is required. Other laws may require workers to wear PPE for specific risks, such as:

The PPE requirements will be regulated and enforced under legislation relevant to these risks.

The regulations also do not apply to the following clothing types:

  • Uniforms provided for the primary purpose of presenting a corporate image.
  • Ordinary working clothes.
  • ‘Protective clothing’ provided in the food industry, primarily for food hygiene purposes.

If any clothing or uniform protects employees from health and safety risks, the PPER 1992 will apply.

Where PPE Regulations do not apply

Other Personal Protective Equipment regulations

There are other PPE regulations duty holders should be aware of when selecting, purchasing and supplying PPE.

The Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002 came into force on 15th May 2002 and applied to all PPE placed on the market. They implemented the European Directive 89/686/EEC on personal protective equipment into UK law. The 2002 regulations were revoked by the introduction of EU PPE Regulation 2016/425 on 21st April 2018.

Regulations were directly applicable to the UK and did not have to be transferred into national law. The UK has now left the European Union (EU). However, the regulations still currently apply, as they have been incorporated into UK law.

Regulation 2016/425 is aimed at manufacturers, importers, distributors and authorised representatives (suppliers) of PPE. Any PPE must fulfil certain criteria before it can legally be placed on the market. The Personal Protective Equipment (Enforcement) Regulation 2018 enforces Regulation 2016/425.

Further information on product supply legislation can be found here.

What are the 2022 amendments to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations?

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022 amended the PPER 1992 when they came into force in Great Britain on 6th April 2022. A summary of the changes is as follows:

Employers now have duties to limb (b) workers.

  • Previously, employers did not have duties to provide PPE to these types of workers, as they did not come under the scope of PPER 1992. With the amendments, their duties have now been extended to include limb (b) workers.
  • Employers must now:
    – Provide free-of-charge PPE to limb (b) workers where a risk assessment has identified a need for their work activities.
    – Provide these workers with sufficient information, instruction and training on PPE use and care.
    – Ensure the PPE is properly maintained, stored and replaced.

Employees who are limb (b) workers now have duties.

  • With the amendments, limb (b) workers now have the same legal duties as limb (a) workers.
  • They have a duty to:
    – Use PPE as per the training and instruction they have received from their employer.
    – Look after their PPE and return it to the employer-provided storage area after use.
    – Report any defects and losses to their employer.

The amended regulations do not apply to those with ‘self-employed’ status.

Where does PPE apply?

What is meant by ‘limb workers’?

Section 230(3) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 states the following:

“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.

These definitions have been included in PPER 2022 Regulation 3.

As there are two definitions, i.e. (a) & (b), these are known as limbs. Hence the reason for the names limb (a) workers and limb (b) workers.

Limb (a) workers

  • Work under a contract of employment.
  • These workers were already under the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act and PPER 1992.

Limb (b) workers

  • The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) describes these workers as having a “more casual employment relationship and working under a contract for service”.
  • The HSE provides examples of workers who would come under limb (b) here.
  • The definition does not apply to self-employed workers.

There is currently a consultation in Northern Ireland as to whether they will make the same changes to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1993.

What is the reason for the changes?

As a previous European Union (EU) member state, the UK had to comply with EU Regulations and Directives. There were two EU Directives – the Health and Safety Framework Directive (89/391/EEC) and the Personal Protective Equipment Directive (89/656/EEC) – which the UK should have implemented.

A judicial review case was brought against the UK Government. The High Court found that the two EU Directives were not fully implemented into domestic law, as they had failed to include limb (b) workers. Even though the UK has left the EU, the court ruling is the reason for the 2022 amendments.


Whether employers employ just limb (a) or limb (b) workers or both, it is clear that from 6th April 2022, they are now legally required to treat all people that come under the definition of a worker the same when it comes to PPE provision and use. Limb (b) workers also have new legal duties and must use PPE in accordance with the training and instruction they receive and report any defects or losses.

If duty holders do not comply with the PPE at Work Regulations, they could face enforcement action from the HSE, including written and verbal advice and enforcement notices. In severe cases, they may even decide to prosecute. Therefore, it is essential duty holders familiarise themselves with the law, consider whether the amendments will apply to their situation and, if they do, comply. If unsure, they should contact a competent health and safety professional or company for advice.

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About the author

Michelle Putter

Michelle Putter

Michelle graduated with an MSc in wildlife biology and conservation in 2012, but her career has taken quite a different turn to the one expected. She started in health and safety in 2009 and has worked in several industries such as electrical engineering, aviation and manufacturing. She has been working with CPD Online College since 2018 and became NEBOSH Diploma qualified in 2020. In her spare time, Michelle's passions are wildlife and her garden. She has volunteered for many conservation organisations and particularly enjoys biological recording. Michelle also likes hiking, jogging and cycling.

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