Feds Finalize Protective Gear Payment Rule

November 16, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.COM) - The federal workplace safety agency has issued a final rule mandating that personal protective equipment (PPE) workers are required to have must be paid for by the employer in nearly all instances.

According to a HR.BLR.com news report, the final rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has exceptions for ordinary safety-toed footwear, ordinary prescription safety eyewear, logging boots, ordinary clothing, and weather-related gear. The rule does not require employers to provide PPE where none has been required before.

The news report said the final rule also clarifies OSHA’s requirements for 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 have received under the 1999 proposed standard, according to OSHA.

In 1999, OSHA proposed a rule that that would require that employers pay for all types of PPE required under OSHA standards, except for safety shoes, prescription safety eyewear, and logging boots in certain circumstances. Two unions filed a lawsuit earlier this year to force the government to finalize its rulemaking process on the PPE issue (See Unions Sue DoL for Failure to Issue Safety Gear Rule).

The rule specifies an enforcement deadline of six months from the November 15, 2007, date of publication in the Federal Register to allow employers time to change their existing PPE payment policies.

The final PPE rule is here .