OSHA Issues Final Rule Clarifying Employers’ Duty to Provide PPE

OSHA’s final rule on Clarification of Employers’ Duty to Provide Personal Protective Equipment and Train Each Employee was published in the Dec. 12 Federal Register. The rule revises OSHA standards to clarify that employers must provide PPE and hazards training for each employee covered by the standards.

Each employee not protected may be considered a separate violation, with penalties assessed accordingly. This revised language is consistent with language in other standards for which per-employee citations have been upheld.

According to OSHA, 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 already is 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.”

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