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OSHA rule requires employers to pay for PPE

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is requiring employers to pay for the personal protective equipment (PPE) provided, with exceptions for specific items, according to information published in the Federal Register September 19.

The final rule (29 CFR Parts 1910, 1915, 1917, 1918 and 1926) does not require employers to provide PPE where none has been required before. Instead, the rule stipulates that the employer must pay for required PPE, except in the limited cases specified in the standard.

Many OSHA health, safety, maritime, and construction standards require employers to provide their employees with protective equipment, including PPE, when such equipment is necessary to protect employees from job-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. These requirements address PPE of many kinds, including hard hats, gloves, goggles, safety shoes, safety glasses, welding helmets and goggles, face shields, chemical protective equipment, and fall protection equipment.

The provisions in OSHA standards that require PPE generally state that the employer is to provide such PPE. However, some of these provisions do not specify that the employer is to provide such PPE at no cost to the employee, which prompted the new rule.

The rule becomes effective February 13, 2008. The final rule must be implemented by May 15, 2008.

The rule can be seen online in the Federal Register.

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