In November 2020, a court judgment found that the UK had failed to adequately transpose aspects of two EU Directives into domestic law with respect to worker safety. In reaction HSE has confirmed that the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations will be amended from 6 April 2022 to ensure that agency and temporary workers ‐ so called limb (b) workers ‐ are provided with the same PPE protections as employees. Those who have self‐employed status are not included and the HSE has published interim guidance to help employers prepare.
The definition of self-employed here has created some confusion, with the guidance stating:
Generally, workers who come under limb (b):
- carry out casual or irregular work for one or more organisation
- after 1 month of continuous service, receive holiday pay but not other employment rights such as the minimum period of statutory notice
only carry out work if they choose to
- have a contract or other arrangement to do work or services personally for a reward (the contract doesn’t have to be written) and only have a limited right to send someone else to do the work, for example swapping shifts with someone on a pre-approved list (subcontracting)
are not in business for themselves (they do not advertise services directly to customers who can then also book their services directly)
Where workers now fall into this definition organisations will have to provide all workers falling in scope with the correct PPE necessary for health and safety free of charge, as well as maintain and replace it as necessary.