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OSHA PPE rule takes effect February 13, 2008;
Employers must comply by May 15

In November 2007, OSHA published a new final rule requiring employers to provide personal protective equipment used to comply with OSHA's standards at no cost to the employee - except under specific circumstances. The rule takes effect February 13, 2008 and employers have until May 15 to comply.

Employers are required to provide at no cost to employees, almost all personal protective equipment when used to comply with OSHA standards. According to OSHA Administrator, Edwin Foulke, Jr., employers already have been responsible for 95% of PPE under OSHA standards.

The exceptions include certain PPE such as ordinary safety-toe footwear, prescription safety eyewear, logging boots, ordinary clothing and ordinary weather-related gear.

This rule does not set forth new requirements regarding the PPE that must be provided and the circumstances in which it must be provided. Employers are not bound to reimburse workers for employee-owned equipment that workers bring into the workplace, even if the employer allows them to use the equipment on the job.

If another OSHA standard specifies payment for PPE and the new rule does not, the standard supersedes the new rule.