OSHA Final Rule on PPE Requires Employer Payment
On November 15, 2007, after more than eight years on the drawing boards, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its final rule concerning an employer’s obligation to pay for the personal protective equipment (PPE) used by its employees. The rule applies to employers in general industry, shipyard and marine terminals, longshoring and construction.
The rule will become effective on February 13, 2008, and employers will have to be in compliance with the new rule by May 15, 2008. Briefly, the new rule requires employers to provide and to pay for any PPE required under OSHA standards. However, employers will not be required to pay for or to provide replacements for lost or intentionally damaged PPE, even if previously paid for and provided by the employer. Also exempt from the payment requirement are every-day types of clothing (e.g., long sleeve shirts, long pants, street shoes, regular work boots, etc.); weather protective clothing (e.g., gloves, parkas, rubber boots, hats, etc.); and certain protective boots, shoes and eyewear. OSHA believes the new rule will assure employee use of required PPE; incentivize affected employers to supply satisfactory equipment that is in safe working order; and motivate affected employees to play an active role in developing and maintaining their employers’ safety and health programs.