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19 Aug 20211 minute read

ECA responds to proposed changes to PPE rules

ECAtoday
ECA responds to proposed changes to PPE rules

ECA disagrees with proposed changes to the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Regulations, which would legally require employers to provide PPE to limb (b) workers . 

Limb (b) workers are workers who carry out casual or irregular work for one or a number of organisations. They are currently required to provide and look after their own PPE.

The proposed legislative changes would ensure compliance with the EU PPE Directive, which may be transposed into UK law now that the UK has left the EU.

However, ECA's response to a consultation on the proposals, which closed this week, states that a transposition of the EU Directive into UK law should not be a default course of action, and that "the UK may now consider and address such issues in other ways".

The response also highlights ECA's view that PPE provisions for limb (b) workers might provide a "perverse incentive for some to ‘collect’ (but not necessarily use) PPE", and provide "less incentive to limb (b) workers to look after or maintain their [own] PPE".

ECA argues that, if a worker is provided with new PPE on one site but then needs to be provided with a new set of PPE the next day at another site, this could result in a:

  • lower standard of PPE being provided to workers, as employers attempt to reduce the cost and waste associated with continually providing new PPE to a wider range of workers; 
  • significant increase in waste PPE, with economic and environmental impacts; 
  • so called ‘grey’ market for PPE as unscrupulous individuals repeatedly request, and then pass or sell on, surplus PPE. Grey market activity may then have health and safety implications for other workers and the public.

ECA's response states that it "naturally advocates that all workers should have - and wear - suitable PPE to protect their health, safety and welfare.  

"Employers should of course comply fully with their current legal requirements to provide PPE and we encourage employers to support and enable the uptake of wider PPE measures where possible. 

"However, we do not support the proposal, which would legally require employers to provide PPE to limb (b) workers." 

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