WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Occupational Safety & Health Administration recently published a final rule clarifying who pays for personal protective equipment (PPE) required in the workplace.
Most of the PPE devices covered in the rule are already the employer’s responsibility, OSHA says, including hard hats, gloves, goggles, safety shoes, safety glasses, welding helmets and goggles, chemical protective equipment, and more. However, employers now must provide necessary protective equipment at no cost to the employee.
The rule includes exceptions for ordinary protective equipment, such as safety shoes, prescription eyewear and weather-related gear. If an employee prefers to provide his or her own PPE, employers are not requires to reimburse the costs, but must ensure that it is sufficient protection. The rule does not specify new PPE equipment where none was previously required.
OSHA says that the new rule will prevent up to 21,000 injuries per year. It becomes effective on Feb. 13, 2008, and operators must implement it by May 15. For the full text, visit the OSHA website, www.osha.gov.