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April 14, 2011 | HR Compliance | Posted by Ascentis Thought Leadership

OSHA Enforcement Guidance Clarifies Personal Protective Equipment Standards for Employers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued the Enforcement Guidance for Personal Protective Equipment in General Industry, a directive for OSHA enforcement personnel and general industry that clarifies the type of personal protective equipment (PPE) employers must provide at no cost to workers, and when employers are required and not required to pay for PPE. The directive is effective as of February 10, 2011.

OSHA issued a final rule on Employer Payment for Personal Protective Equipment in November 2007. The rule required employers in general industry, shipyard employment, longshoring, marine terminals and construction to provide most types of required PPE at no cost to the worker. The agency also issued a final rule in September 2009 updating its PPE standards so that they are more consistent with current consensus standards.

The standards require employers to provide--at no cost to workers--protective equipment such as goggles and face shields that fit properly without restricting vision; earplugs and earmuffs when they will reduce noise to acceptable levels and are less costly than administrative and engineering controls; and respirators to protect workers from exposure to air contaminants. Additionally, the directive lists PPE and other items exempted from the employer payment requirements and includes questions and answers useful in clarifying PPE payment concerns.

Visit OSHA's Safety and Health Topics page on Personal Protective Equipment for more information.

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