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Who Has to Provide the Personal Protective Equipment for Employees?

- January 26, 2017 by Steve Medellin (View all posts by Steve)

I had just completed the Intro to OSHA class for a company when the employees notified me that they must pay for their own hardhats and safety glasses. I approached the general manager of the company I was doing the class for, and he acknowledged that the business does not provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for their employees, but yet, they do require everyone to use them.

I provided the manager a copy of the OSHA pamphlet that states which PPE must be provided the employer versus by the employee. He was not aware of this requirement and quickly purchased enough hardhats and safety glasses for his entire company.

So, which PPE is the responsibility of the employer to provide?

On May 15, 2008, a new rule about employer payment for PPE went into effect. With few exceptions, OSHA now requires employers to pay for PPE used to comply with OSHA standards. The standard makes clear that employers cannot require workers to provide their PPE and the worker’s use of PPE they already own must be entirely voluntary. Even if a worker provides his or her own PPE, the employer must ensure that the equipment is adequate to protect the employee from hazards at the workplace.

Some examples of PPE that is to be provided by the company are:

  • Hardhats
  • Non-prescription eyewear protection
  • Goggles/Face shields
  • Hearing protection

Some examples of PPE that employers do not need to pay for are:

    • Non-specialty safety toe footwear (i.e. steel-toe boots or shoes)
    • Non-specialty prescription safety eyewear (due to its personal use and is often used outside the workplace)
    • Everyday work clothing or personal clothing, such as long-sleeve shirts and long pants
    • Lifting belts (as their value is questionable)
    • PPE that is lost or intentionally damaged by an employee

In conclusion, make sure you know are familiar with OSHA standards to ensure you are following the rules regarding PPE. Visit here to learn more.

 
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  1. Tom
    January 31st, 2017 at 16:56 | #1

    Good information, Steve.

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