OSHA…PPE..Who pays?

On February 10, 2011, OSHA mandated the new Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Directive. For years there have been questions about who is responsible for supplying PPE to employees. Does the employer need to provide all the PPE required on a jobsite or does the employee have some responsibility?

OSHA has now directed that the employer is now responsible for ALL PPE required for the employee to perform his or her job. Safety Glass, Hard Hats, Goggles, Respirators, fall protection equipment etc., are all now the employers responsibility to provide.

OSHA proposed to require the employer to pay for all PPE required by OSHA standards, with explicit exceptions for certain safety-toe protective footwear and prescription safety eyewear. Safety-toe protective footwear and prescription safety glasses were expected from the employer payment requirement, in large part because these items were considered to be very personal in nature and were often worn off the jobsite.

The proposal would have allowed the exceptions if they met the following conditions: (1) The employer permits such footwear or eyewear to be worn off the jobsite; (2) the footwear or eyewear is not used at work in a manner that renders it unsafe for use off the job-site; and (3) such footwear or eyewear is not designed for special use on the job. OSHA will now use these criteria during their inspection process. If it is found that the employer requires the employee to provide his/her own PPE, OSHA will now utilized the directive/ rule as grounds for issuing of citations.