Employer to provide PPE for free: OSHA

WASHINGTON, D.C. - OSHA has announced a final rule that all PPE, with a few exceptions, will be provided by the employer at no cost to the employee.

OSHA anticipates that this rule will have substantial safety benefits that will result in more than 21,000 fewer occupational injuries per year. This new ruling helps clarify the cost responsibility for the requirements found in OSHA 1910.132.

OSHA 1910.132(d)(1):

The employer shall assess the workplace to determine if hazards are present, or are likely to be present, which necessitate the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). If such hazards are present, or likely to be present, the employer shall:

OSHA 1910.132(d)(1)(i)

Select, and have each affected employee use, the types of PPE that will protect the affected employee from the hazards identified in the hazard assessment;

"Employees exposed to safety and health hazards may need to wear personal protective equipment to be protected from injury, illness, and death caused by exposure to those hazards," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, Edwin G. Foulke Jr. "This final rule will clarify who is responsible for paying for PPE, which OSHA anticipates will lead to greater compliance and potential avoidance of thousands of workplace injuries each year."

The final rule contains a few exceptions for ordinary safety-toed footwear, ordinary prescription safety eyewear, and logging boots.

The final rule also clarifies OSHA's requirements regarding payment for employee-owned PPE and replacement PPE. While these clarifications have added several paragraphs to the regulatory text, the final rule provides employees no less protection than they would have received under the 1999 proposed standard.

The rule provides an enforcement deadline of 6 months from the date of publication in the Federal Register to allow employers time to change their existing PPE payment policies to accommodate the final rule. The final ruling became effective on February 13 of this year. The final rule must be implemented by May 15, 2008.


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