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What Are Employee Responsibilities Regarding PPE at Work?

We are all aware that employers need to take steps to keep workers safe. These safety requirements include providing adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and provide training to educate the employee on how to use PPE safely.

However, employees have responsibilities, too, and workers must follow the rules regarding PPE. Your PPE rules are outlined in the newly published Personal Protective Equipment at Work (Amendment) Regulations 2022 (PPER 2022). These came into force on the 6th of April 2022 and amend the 1992 Regulations (PPER 1992). The regulations include aspects such as correctly wearing the correct clothing to avoid accidents and injury.

Here we take a look at PPE legislation, what PPE should be provided, how to store and ensure PPE has adequately maintained procedures, and the different types of PPE.

PPE has a crucial role in protecting workers against health and safety risks in the workplace and includes:

PPE At Work Regulations

The PPE at Work Regulations 1992 aims to ensure employees wear PPE where other measures for controlling risks cannot be put into place. As an employee, you should not be asked to contribute to or be charged for PPE provision and its maintenance. Your employer must supply PPE free of charge, as outlined in The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Under the new PPER 2022, the duties and responsibilities of both employers and employees under PPER 1992 remain unchanged. However, they are extended to limb (b) workers, as defined in PPER 2022. This came into effect on the 6th of April 2022. Employers need to carefully consider whether the changes apply to them and their workforce and make the necessary preparations to comply.

The PPE at Work Regulations 1992 doesn’t apply when requirements are detailed in other regulations. Examples include The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, which covers respirators, their provision, and maintenance.

Different regulations usually exist for specific hazards and the handling of hazardous substances. There may also be alternative regulations for the handling of noise, ionising radiation, and asbestos.

Definitions Of Limb (A) And Limb (B) Workers

Within the Employment Rights Act 1996 the definition of a worker has 2 limbs:

  • A which describes a person with a contract of employment.
  • B describes workers who generally have a more casual employment relationship and work under a contract for service

Employee’s Responsibilities Regarding PPE

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

As an employee, you must ensure:

  • PPE is used or worn as stipulated by the instructions supplied with it
    • Your PPE is of a size that fits and is appropriate for your height, weight, and shape
    • You conduct a visual examination of the PPE and know how to spot and report faults
    • Return your PPE to the provided accommodation, except where PPE is taken away from the worksite, such as in the case of clothing or footwear
    • After use, you return your PPE to a dry and clean storage unit, ready for it to be laundered hygienically and replaced(unless authorised to take the PPE home), as may be the case for footwear
    • Take responsible care of your PPE
    • Must not carry out maintenance yourself, unless you are both authorised and trained to do so
    • Report the loss of PPE or any defect immediately to your line manager

Why PPE Is Important?

PPE has an essential role in protecting your body, hands, eyes, lungs, and face from dangers such as corrosive chemicals and extreme cold or heat.

The different categories of PPE and the standards that govern them include:

  • Respiratory protection
  • Head and scalp protection – BS EN 14052 and BS EN 397
  • Hand and arm protection – BS EN 14328 (cut protection from powered knives), BS EN 374 Part 1 (chemicals and microorganisms), BS EN 407 (thermal risk, fire, and heat), BS EN 511 (cold), and BS EN 388 (mechanical hazards)
  • Eye protection – BS EN 166 and BS 7028
  • Hearing protection – BS EN 352 Part 1
  • Body protection – BS EN 471 + A1
  • Foot and leg protection – BS EN ISO 20345 and BS EN ISO 17249:2004
  • Height and access protection

There are special requirements for Type 5 coveralls worn by asbestos removal contractors.

Your Responsibilities And Good Practices

Contaminated Air

PPE may be needed to prevent you from breathing in polluted air, viruses such as the coronavirus, dust, gases, vapour, and fumes. Respirators are designed to filter the air you breathe to protect your lungs. You should ensure the respirator fits properly with a good seal around the face and ensure it has the right filter for the range of substances you are exposed to. You should also ensure that other PPE does not interfere with your respirator or face mask’s fitting.

Impacts And Falling Objects

You may require PPE to protect your feet and head from falling objects, such as tools and materials. Your PPE might also need to protect you from bumping your head or ensure that your hair does not become entangled in machinery. PPE options include safety helmets, hairnets, bump caps, shoes, boots with protective toecaps, chainsaw boots, and foundry boots. If they take an impact or receive damage, they should be replaced.

Eyes Splashes

PPE can protect your eyes from corrosive liquids, flying particles, gas, radiation, vapour, and dust. Safety goggles, safety glasses, face shields, face screens, and visors should fit the task, considering protection against impacts, splashes, molten metals, and dust particles.

Corrosive Chemicals

PPE can protect your skin from coming into contact with corrosive materials, chemicals, radiation, electricity, prolonged immersion in water, and cuts. PPE includes gloves, gauntlets, sleeve covers, and gloves with cuffs. It is vital to understand how to remove gloves without contaminating your skin. You should not use loose gloves when using tools such as drills that might catch the materials, and you should use inner cotton gloves if your hands get hot and sweaty.


Your choice of PPE should consider the duration of exposure to noise, the level of sound, and exposure to high-level sounds. Earmuffs and earplugs protect against noise, and you should ensure you can still safely communicate with others.

PPE is the last resort where other safety controls cannot be implemented. Employees should always recognise the limitations of PPE and ensure it is worn, even when the job takes a few minutes, or you are passing through the work environment where PPE is required.

Ensure You Comply With Regulations

Do you want to ensure you are complying with the latest regulations?

You can manually check your workwear and equipment against the UK Government’s Risk at Work Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Toolbox. Or if you are using our workwear rental service, we will ensure all garments are fully compliant.

It’s our business to keep you safe. We care for your safety by monitoring the legislation, standards, and new operating models in a variety of fields. Through extensive research and experience, we have developed our workwear to meet the toughest of requirements.

Contact our team today to discuss the PPE your company needs and arrange safety workwear and PPE rental.





Lindström Group