Tag: PPE

OSHA PPE Program Enforcement Guidance

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for their employees when the employees are exposed to certain workplace hazards. Over the years, OSHA and employers have grappled over the question of what items employers are required to provide at the employers’ expense. This article contains PPE program enforcement guidance. Download the PDF version This Compliance Overview is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice. ©2016-2020 MyTPG.com All rights reserved. Under a final rule that became effective in early 2008, employers must pay for any PPE that is required to comply with OSHA standards, except under certain limited circumstances. In 2011, OSHA provided a list of example PPE items that employers are and are not required to provide at their own expense. OSHA also provided examples of violations for which employers may expect to receive citations under the final rule. Links and Resources OSHA’s 2007 Final Rule: Employer Payment for PPE OSHA 2011 Directive: Enforcement Guidance for PPE in General Industry OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics web page on PPE OSHA Fact Sheet on PPE  PPE Program Sectioned Information Establish a PPE program that includes training for employees. Obtain written certification from employees to show they attended and understood the PPE training. Perform annual reviews of the PPE program. Pay for and provide any PPE that OSHA standards require employees to use, unless an exception applies. Pay for and provide replacements for required PPE items that are damaged by normal wear and tear General Exception Employers are not required to pay for PPE used solely for purposes unrelated to safety and health. Employers’ Duty to Conduct PPE Program Assessment and Training As a general matter, OSHA maintains that employers are responsible for identifying potential and actual hazards, as well as establishing requirements for PPE. Management must also establish and review related training and programs at least annually, as well as when equipment or facility additions or modifications cause changes in PPE requirements. Upper management and supervisors are both responsible for enforcing these programs. In addition to the initial and yearly assessments, employers have a duty to train their employees in the proper use of the PPE. This training must include information about: When and what PPE is necessary; How to don, doff, adjust and wear the PPE; PPE limitations; and The proper care, maintenance, useful life and disposal of PPE. Employers are required to obtain written certification (signed paperwork) that employees attended and understood the training. OSHA may issue citations to employers that fail to comply with these requirements. Examples of PPE That Must Be Provided at Employers’ Expense Unless an exception applies, employers must provide any PPE that their employees are required to use under OSHA standards. The 2011 guidance includes a list of example PPE items that employers must supply at the employers’ expense. This list is not exhaustive and may not contain the specific PPE an employer may determine is necessary after conducting a hazard assessment. Employers should look closely at their companies’ hazard assessments to supplement this list. PPE PROGRAM: Employer Expected to Cover Expense Prescription eyewear inserts or lenses for full-face piece respirator Metatarsal foot protection Special boots for longshoremen working logs Rubber boots with steel toes Shoe covers, toe caps and metatarsal guards Non-prescription eye protection Prescription eyewear inserts or lenses for welding and diving helmets Goggles Face shields Laser safety goggles Firefighting PPE, such as helmet, gloves, boots, proximity suits and full gear Hard hats or Bump Caps Hearing protection Welding PPE Items used in medical or laboratory settings to protect from exposure to infectious agents (such as aprons, lab coats, goggles, disposable gloves, shoe covers, etc.) Non-specialty gloves used for protection from hazards such as dermatitis, severe cuts and abrasions Rubber sleeves Aluminized gloves Chemical-resistant gloves, aprons and clothing Rubber insulating gloves Mesh cut-proof gloves, mesh or leather aprons Barrier creams, unless used solely for weather-related protection Self-contained breathing apparatus and atmosphere-supplying respirators used for escape purposes Respirators Personal fall protection Ladder safety device belts Climbing ensembles used by linemen, such as belts and climbing hooks Window cleaners’ safety straps Personal flotation devices Encapsulating chemical protective suits Reflective work vests Exceptions to the Employer Payment Requirement Employers should also consult their hazard assessment when deciding whether they must provide an item at their employees’ expense. While employers may require an employee to pay for PPE that was lost or intentionally destroyed, employees are not responsible for damage caused to their PPE by normal wear and tear. Furthermore, employers are under no obligation to provide their employees with PPE that exceeds the standards and requirements set by OSHA, as long as adequate PPE is available for employee use. PPE PROGRAM: Employer NOT Expected to Cover Expense Non-specialty safety-toe protective footwear, such as steel-toe boots, that employees are allowed to wear off the jobsite Non-specialty prescription safety eyewear that employees are allowed to wear off the jobsite Sturdy work shoes Lineman’s boots Sunglasses or sunscreen Non-specialty gloves that are not required under an OSHA standard, such as gloves used solely for keeping clean or warm Ordinary cold-weather gear, such as coats, parkas and winter boots Logging boots required under 29 CFR 1910.266(d)(1)(v) Back belts Uniforms, caps or other clothing worn solely to identify a person as an employee Dust masks and respirators used under the voluntary use provisions in 29 CFR 1910.134. Items worn to keep employees clean for purposes unrelated to safety or health, such as denim coveralls and aprons Long-sleeve shirts and long pants Ordinary rain gear Items worn for product or consumer safety rather than employee safety and health,  such as hairnets worn solely to protect food products from contamination (as long as they are not used to comply with machine guarding requirements) and plastic or rubber gloves worn solely to prevent food contamination during meal preparation (not including cut-proof gloves worn to prevent lacerations) Items […]

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