Discover the rules on who must pay for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Spoil alert: it’s not the employees!
Many different jobs require their employees to use PPE. The purpose of any form of PPE is to protect the employee from being injured while on the job. In 2008, OSHA instituted a new rule that said that employers must pay for employees’ PPE in most instances. Discover the details and ensure your company complies.
Employers and PPE
In cases where mitigating hazards is not possible, providing PPE is obligatory. When employers require employees to work with safety hazards, the company must buy PPE, such as gloves, foot, and eye protection, protective hearing protection (earplugs, muffs), hard hats, and respirators to protect employees. According to OSHA, employers are required to:
- Perform a “hazard assessment” of the workplace to identify and control physical and health hazards
- Identify and provide appropriate PPE for employees
- Train employees on how to use and care for PPE
- Maintain PPE, including replacing worn or damaged PPE.
- Periodically review, update and evaluate the effectiveness of their PPE program
Employees are responsible for wearing their PPE correctly, keeping it clean and maintained, attending safety training concerning PPE use, and informing a supervisor when PPE is damaged or needs replacing. Employees can only pay for PPE when they choose to do so, such as preferring to use PPE they already own. In short, companies must pay for the PPE necessary to do a job safely. There are only a few instances where employers are not required to pay for PPE. According to OSHA, these items include:
- Nonspecialty safety-toe protective footwear (including steel-toe shoes or boots) and nonspecialty prescription safety eyewear that the employer permits wearing off the job site
- Everyday clothing such as long-sleeve shirts, long pants, street shoes, and regular work boots
- Ordinary clothing, skin creams, or other items used solely for protection from the weather, such as winter coats, jackets, gloves, parkas, rubber boots, hats, raincoats, ordinary sunglasses, and sunscreen.
- Hairnets and gloves are worn by food workers for consumer safety (Pre-COVID-19)
- Lifting belts because their value in protecting the back is questionable
- When the employee has lost or intentionally damaged required PPE
Safe Keeper and Safe Climber carry a line of fall protection products, safety ladders, and accessories that are necessary PPE for working at heights.