OSHA Rule on Personal Protective Equipment

WASHINGTON--The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a final rule on employer-paid personal protective equipment (PPE). Under the rule, all PPE, with a few exceptions, will be provided at no cost to the employee. OSHA anticipates that this rule will have substantial safety benefits that will result in more than 21,000 fewer occupational injuries per year. The rule was published in the Federal Register on Nov. 15.

The final rule contains a few exceptions for ordinary safety-toed footwear, ordinary prescription safety eyewear, logging boots, andordinary clothing and weather-related gear. The final rule also clarifies OSHA's requirements regarding payment for employee-owned PPE and replacement PPE. While these clarifications have added several paragraphs to the regulatory text, the final rule provides employees no less protection than they would havereceived under the 1999 proposed standard.

The rule also provides an enforcement deadline of six months from the date of publication to allow employers time to change their existing PPE payment policies to accommodate the final rule.

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