The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ruled that employers must pay the cost of providing any personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to protect workers from job-related injuries. The new rule covers PPE including respirators, hard hats, gloves, goggles, safety shoes, safety glasses, and welding helmets, but there are several exemptions to the mandate.
Employers are not required to provide PPE where none was required before, and the employer does not have to pay for equipment that is lost or intentionally damaged. Additionally, the rule does not cover everyday clothing or weather-related clothes that can be worn off-the-job (winter coats, gloves, hats, etc.), along with ordinary steel-toe shoes/boots, ordinary, prescription safety eyewear or skin creams. OSHA estimates that employers already pay for about 95% of PPE costs. Employers must implement the new PPE payment requirements no later than May 15, 2008.
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