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Who Pays for PPE?

PPEMost of us know employers are responsible for ensuring their employees use personal protective equipment (PPE). But did you know employers are also responsible for providing PPE at no cost when it’s required under an OSHA standard?

Final Rule of Employer Payment for Personal Protective Equipment

The “employer pays” Final Rule has been in place since May 15, 2008. The Rule makes explicit what was already implied in many OSHA standards: employers have to cover the costs of PPE. This includes common items such as:

  1. Goggles
  2. Hard hats
  3. Chemical resistant gloves/aprons/clothing
  4. Respiratory protection
  5. Fall protection
  6. Reflective work vests
  7. Fire fighting PPE
  8. Welding PPE.

The Final Rule does contain a few exceptions where the employer does NOT have to pay, and these include:

  1. Some safety-toe shoes
  2. Prescription eyewear
  3. Logging boots
  4. Everyday clothing such as shirts, pants, shoes
  5. Ordinary clothing used for protection from weather, such as winter jackets, rubber boots and sunglasses.

Generally, these exceptions are allowed because they’re personal in nature and often used at home.

For a complete list of personal protective equipment employers must provide, see Employer Payment for Personal Protective Equipment: Final Rule.

Replacement Gear

The Final Rule also states employees must pay for and provide replacement gear. The only exception is if an employee loses or intentionally damages gear.

For example, if an employee forgets a pair of work gloves at a job site, the employee is responsible for replacing them. However, if an employee wears out a pair of work gloves through normal use, the employer is responsible for replacing them.

Application to Employees

The Final Rule applies to all employees, including full time, part time and seasonal workers. It does not apply to non-employees, such as independent contractors. (Contractors must still wear PPE when required by OSHA standards, but employers are not responsible for covering costs.)

For a more detailed article about the Final Rule, see our article Summary of the Final Rule on Employer Paid PPE.

OSHA also has a useful handout on the topic: Employers Must Provide and Pay for PPE.

PPE at Select Safety Sales

At Select Safety Sales, we carry a wide assortment of high quality, reasonably priced PPE for the workplace, including goggles, safety glasses, ear muffs, work gloves, hard hats and respirator equipment. We also stock protective clothing, such as high visibility apparel, welding clothing and fire resistant clothing.

If you need help determining what PPE to purchase for your workplace, contact our safety experts at (866) 864-3495 or email sales@selectsafetysales.com. We’re happy to tell you more about our products and answer any questions you may have!


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