The final rule on Clarification of Employers’ Duty to Provide Personal Protective Equipment and Train Each Employee was published in the Federal Register on December 12, 2008. The rule revises OSHA standards to clarify that, for employers to be in compliance, they must provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and hazards training for each employee covered by the standards.
Each employee not protected may be considered a separate violation and penalties assessed accordingly. This revised language is consistent with language in other standards for which per-employee citations have been upheld.
The final rule amendments do not add new compliance obligations. Employers are not required to provide new kinds of PPE or hazards training or use a different approach than what is already required. Additionally, employers are not required to provide PPE or training to employees not already covered by existing requirements.
“This technical correction to the PPE standard brings it in line with other OSHA safety and health standards,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Thomas M. Stohler. “By making this change, those few employers who egregiously violate the OSHA PPE standard can be held fully accountable for violations affecting each employee who is not provided proper PPE. This kind of vigorous enforcement is a vital component of OSHA’s balanced approach to workplace safety and health.”
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA’s role is to promote the safety and health of America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health.
Earlier coverage of this issue on FacilityBlog in August 2008: