OSHA Interpretation Letter Clarifies Some Safety Responsibilities of Temporary Staffing Agencies and Primary Employers
A recently released Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
outlines the division of responsibility between a temporary staffing agency and the client employer to
provide worker safety training, perform hazard communication, and maintain OSHA-related records.
Although agency Interpretation letters are limited to the circumstances presented by the person or
organization requesting guidance, they shed light on how OSHA would apply its laws and regulations in similar scenarios.
The instant Interpretation letter is helpful for any employer that provides temporary personnel to other businesses,
as well as one that uses the services of a temporary staffing agency.
The letter explains that which entity is primarily responsible for performing the OSHA safety requirements depends
on the degree of supervisory authority and worksite control either exercises. As stated in the letter,
"both the temporary agency and the host employer have the responsibility to ensure that training,
hazard communication, and recordkeeping requirements are fulfilled. Therefore, the issue at hand is the
division of responsibility."
With respect to training requirements, OSHA explains that generally, the temporary staffing agency must ensure that
employees receive proper training. That said, the host employer provides worksite safety training specific to the
worker’s job tasks. Therefore, "in order to fulfill its obligation under such circumstances, the temporary agency
must have a reasonable basis for believing that the host employer's training adequately
addresses potential hazards employees may be exposed to at the host worksite."
Both the staffing agency and the host employer are responsible for adequately training employees about any hazardous
chemicals present at the worksite. The letter references an
earlier OSHA directive
on this subject:
[Hazard Communication Standard] training of temporary employees is a responsibility that is shared between the
temporary agency and the host employer. The host-employer holds the primary responsibility for training since the
host employer uses or produces chemicals, creates and controls the hazards, and is, therefore, best suited to inform
employees of the chemical hazards specific to the workplace environment. The temporary agency, in turn, maintains
a continuing relationship with its employees, and would be, at a minimum, expected to inform employees of the
requirements of the standard. (CPL 02-02-38, Appendix A, Section h, March 20, 1998)
Finally, the Interpretation letter explains that it is the responsibility of the employer to maintain and report
workplace injuries and illnesses for all employees on its payroll and those employees it supervises on a day-to-day basis.
Therefore, if a host employer supervises workers provided by a temporary staffing agency on a day-to-day basis,
it must maintain the OSHA 300 injury and illness log for these individuals. By the same token, if only the temporary
staffing agency supervises the workers, it is the entity responsible for maintaining and reporting these records.
If both the host employer and the staffing agency share supervisory duties, the reporting obligation is less clear.
In such a scenario, OSHA recommends that both entities reach an agreement regarding which employer will shoulder this burden.
The letter emphasizes that "only one employer's log should contain a record of injuries and illnesses of the employees."
That said, OSHA makes clear that both the temporary employer and the host employer will be cited for violations if
"OSHA finds that both employers were responsible for the violative condition(s)."
Overall, the agency makes the following recommendation:
To ensure that there is clear understanding of each employer's role in protecting employees,
OSHA recommends that the temporary staffing agency and the host employer set out their respective responsibilities
for compliance with applicable OSHA standards in their contract. Including such terms in a contract will ensure
that each employer complies with all relevant regulatory requirements, thereby avoiding confusion as to the
OSHA Reminds Employers to Post Injury/Illness Summaries Beginning February 1st
Beginning February 1st, employers who are required to keep the
OSHA Form 300
Injury and Illness log must post a summary of the log.
Employers must post
OSHA's Form 300A
from February 1 to April 30, 2013 in a common area wherever notices to workers are usually posted.
The summary must list the total numbers of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred in 2012.
All establishment summaries must be certified by a company executive.
Copies of the OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301 are available for download on the
OSHA Recordkeeping Web page.
OSHA Recordkeeping Handbook
for more information on
posting requirements for OSHA's Form 300A.
OSHA Recordkeeping page
has the OSHA Recordkeeping Handbook and Training Presentations.
OSHA Recordkeeping Handbook is a compendium of existing agency approved policy,
including the 2001 Recordkeeping rule (Regulatory text and relevant decision discussion
from the Preamble to the rule), Frequently Asked Questions and the Letters of Interpretation.
OSHA Recordkeeping Handbook can be found
OSHA Recordkeeping Handbook
OSHA Issues Memo on Safety Incentive and Disincentive Policies and Practices
In a March 12 memo
to OSHA Regional Administrators and whistleblower investigative staff,
OSHA's Deputy Assistant Secretary Richard Fairfax addressed workplace policies and practices that can
discourage workers from reporting injuries and could constitute unlawful discrimination
and a violation of
section 11(c) of the OSH Act,
or other whistleblower protection statutes.
Some of these policies and practices may also violate
OSHA's recordkeeping regulations,
particularly the requirement that ensures workers can report work-related injuries and illnesses.
Ensuring that workers can report injuries or illnesses without fear of retaliation is crucial
to protecting worker safety and health. If workers do not feel free to report injuries or illnesses,
an entire workforce is put at risk: Employers do not learn of and correct dangerous conditions
that have resulted in injuries, and injured workers may not receive the proper medical attention
or the workers' compensation benefits to which they are entitled.
For more details read the memo
and visit OSHA's Whistleblower page.
OSHA Training Page
OSHA Training page
lists upcoming events around the country.
OSHA will co-sponsor safety and health training opportunities and conference for workers, employers, and the general public.
OSHA Releases Respirator Training Videos
17 short videos
for workers on the proper use of respirators, the agency announced January 31st.
The videos provide information to general industry and construction workers,
and cover topics such as respirator types, fit-testing, training requirements, and maintenance and care of respirators.
Nine of the videos are in English and eight are in Spanish.
OSHA Plans to Convene SBREFA Panel on I2P2
OSHA has notified the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA)
within OMB by letter dated January 6, 2012 that OSHA intends to convene a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) panel
under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) for its
Injury and Illness Prevention Program (I2P2) rule in the next sixty (60) days.
The Panel, convened for all rules estimated to have a significant impact on a substantial amount of US small businesses,
is one of the first steps in the promulgation of large rulemaking and was scheduled to take place last year.
SCA submitted 2 SER candidates to the Office of Advocacy, however to my knowledge the Panel participant have not yet been selected.
OSHA considers the notification of Advocacy and OIRA of its intent to convene the SBAR (or SBREFA) panel to be public information;
however, the materials that will be provided to the panel and Small Entity Representatives (SERs) will remain confidential
until the panel is formally convened. At that time, OSHA will place all of the materials in its rulemaking docket
so they will be universally available.
What is SBREFA?
In 1996, Congress passed the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act, or SBREFA,
in response to concerns expressed by the small business community that Federal regulations were too numerous,
too complex and too expensive to implement.
SBREFA was designed to give small businesses assistance in understanding and complying with regulations
and more of a voice in the development of new regulations.
Under SBREFA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other Federal agencies must:
- Produce Small Entity Compliance Guides for some rules
- Be responsive to small business inquiries about compliance with the agency's regulations
- Submit final rules to Congress for review
- Have a penalty reduction policy for small businesses
- Involve small businesses in the development of some proposed rules through Small Business Advocacy Review Panels.
In addition, SBREFA established 10 Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards to receive comments
from small businesses across the country about Federal compliance and enforcement issues and activities,
and report these findings annually to Congress.
The legislation also gives small businesses expanded authority to recover attorney's fees
and costs when a Federal agency has been found to have acted excessively in enforcing Federal regulations.
About the Panel Process
When an OSHA proposal is expected to have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities,
the agency must notify the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) Office of Advocacy.
The Office of Advocacy then recommends small entity representatives to be consulted on the rule and its effects.
OSHA next convenes a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel, consisting of officials from the agency,
the SBA's Chief Counsel for Advocacy, and the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
The panel hears comments from small entity representatives and reviews the draft proposed rule and related analyses prepared by OSHA.
A written report of this interagency panel is submitted to OSHA within 60 days.
OSHA reviews the report, makes any appropriate revisions to the rule and publishes the proposed rule
along with the panel's report in the Federal Register.
New Tire Charts Will Help Workers Safely Service Single-Piece and Multi-Piece Rim Wheels
OSHA has revised its tire servicing materials to address current hazards in the industry
and help workers safely perform maintenance on large vehicle tires.
The materials address OSHA's
Materials Handling and Storage standard
that protects workers who service single-piece and multi-piece rim wheels.
Following recent talks with representatives from tire, rubber, and wheel manufacturers,
OSHA determined a need for new materials with updates from sources such as the Tire Industry Association.
The updated information, available in a portable manual or as three poster-sized charts, is easier to access and use.
OSHA's revised "Multi-piece Rim Matching Chart" provides an updated list of current and obsolete components
and the old "Demounting and Mounting Procedures for Truck/Bus Tires" chart is now expanded into two charts
that deal individually with tubeless and tube-type tires.
can be downloaded from OSHA's
for more information.
Exercise Regime Constitutes Medical Treatment for OSHA Recordability
Following its recent interpretation that "therapeutic exercise" constitutes medical treatment for OSHA recordability purposes,
OSHA has now stated that an exercise regime recommended by a Certified Athletic Trainer for an employee who exhibits
any signs or symptoms of a work-related injury involves medical treatment and is a recordable case.
OSHA made this interpretation in
a letter recently posted on its website.
In the same letter,
OSHA also provided guidance on whether specific types of exercise constitutes medical treatment.
OSHA states that if a Certified Athletic Trainer "utilizes stretching" to relieve symptoms of a work-related injury or illness,
the "stretching" constitutes medical treatment.
OSHA also states that a written home exercise program provided by a Certified Athletic Trainer
for signs or symptoms of a work-related injury or illness constitutes medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes.
OSHA's interpretation is particularly important for musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), as MSDs are often managed, in part,
through exercise regimes. OSHA does note in the letter that exercise given as a purely precautionary measure
(i.e., before the onsite of signs or symptoms) would not qualify for recordability.
However, if an employee experiences any signs or symptoms of a work-related injury or illness - even very early signs or symptoms - exercise
given to manage those signs or symptoms would constitute medical treatment for recordability purposes.
Employers should take note of this new interpretation and adjust their recordkeeping practices accordingly.
OSHA Proposed Rule Changes Reporting Timeframes for Fatalities, Amputations and In-Patient Hospitalizations
The new proposed reporting requirements revised OSHA's current regulation that requires an employer to report to OSHA, within eight hours, all work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees.
(Under the revised proposal, employers would be required to report to OSHA any work-related fatalities and all in-patient hospitalizations within eight hours, and work-related amputations within 24 hours.
Reporting amputations is not required under the current regulation).
Other observations from the proposed rule include:
- OSHA estimates that the additional reporting burden to be an average of only 15 minutes per reported incident.
- In-patient hospitalization is defined as when a person is "formally admitted" to a hospital or clinic for at least one overnight stay.
- The proposed reporting requirements would apply only to work-related deaths, in-patient hospitalizations, and amputations occurring within 30 days of a work-related incident.
- A reportable amputation under the proposed rule would include those that occur at the workplace as well as those that occur in a hospital as a result of a work-related event.
Comments are due on September 20, 2011.
OSHA updated its
Web page to include answers to
frequently asked questions
regarding the proposed rule.
A link to the
itself also is available on the page.
OSHA Issues Updated Safety Directive Providing Guidelines, Checklists for Divers
A number of "user-friendly" changes, including an expanded checklist of what commercial divers need to do to meet health and safety requirements, have been included in an updated directive on enforcement of commercial diving standards that was issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration June 13.
commercial diving directive (CPL 02-00-151)
replaces a document that has been in force since August 2006 (CPL 02-00-142).
Phil Newsum, executive director of the Association of Diving Contractors International, worked with OSHA on the new directive.
"It is far more user-friendly than wading through the [standards] themselves," Newsum told BNA June 14.
Among the changes Newsum highlighted were:
- The expansion of the checklist covering what diving operations need to do to meet OSHA requirements, from confirming that divers are qualified to retaining equipment inspection and medical record
- A detailed definition of diving using "mixed gas," the various combinations of oxygen and other gases divers can breathe
- Aligning the directive with the 6th edition of the Consensus Standard for Commercial Diving and Underwater Operations, now going to print
Among the changes OSHA highlighted in the 91-page directive were the consolidation of all previously issued OSHA interpretation letters for commercial diving, clarifying the "requirements and duties" of diver tenders (assistants to divers),
and updating the instructions for "no-decompression air dives" using "revision 6" of the U.S. Navy Diving Manual.
The primary OSHA standard for commercial diving is
29 C.F.R. Part 1910, Subpart T.
However, other standards also apply, such as 29 C.F.R. Part 1915, Shipyard Employment Standards, and 29 C.F.R. Part 1926, Construction Industry Standards.
OSHA issued the initial commercial diving standard in 1977.
For the most part, OSHA is responsible for commercial diving safety in inland waters, while the Coast Guard has jurisdiction offshore.
OSHA Final Rule Affects Shipyard Employment Standards
OSHA has issued a final rule
aimed at streamlining and simplifying various standards, including those affecting the shipbuilding and repair industry.
This effort was directed by President Obama's initiative and Executive Memo on reducing employer regulatory burdens and a periodic Agency review.
The new rule will result in several changes affecting 1915, Safety & Health Standards for Shipbuilding.
The relevant excerpts from the Final Rule are below:
In subpart I, OSHA is deleting requirements that employers prepare and maintain written training certification records.
OSHA does not believe that the training certification records required by the four standards provide a safety or health benefit to employees, nor are the burden hours and cost to employers justified.
These standards are the general industry Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) standard (Sec. 1910.132);
the shipyard employment PPE standard (Sec.1915.152);
and the general industry and construction Cadmium standards (Sec. Sec. 1910.1027 and 1926.1127).
There are seven revisions to the Respiratory Protection standard at Sec.1910.134. One revision clarifies which breathing-gas containers employers must provide pursuant to the standard (Sec. 1910.134(i)(9)).
To provide additional clarification, OSHA is revising language in Appendix C of Sec. 1910.134, and updating the language of the DOT regulations referenced in Sec. 1910.134(i)(4)(i).
OSHA also deleted duplicative and inconsistent statements in Appendix D of Sec. 1910.134, and also in the Asbestos standard for shipyards (Sec.1915.1001).
OSHA is updating its standards regulating slings for general industry (Sec. 1910.184); shipyard employment (Sec. Sec. 1915.112,1915.113, and 1915.118), and construction (Sec. 1926.251).
Modifications to these standards include removing previous load- capacity tables (Sec. 1910.184, tables N-184-1, N-184-3 through N-184- 22; and G-1 through G-5, G-7, G-8, and G-10) and references to these tables (Sec. 1915.112; Sec. 1915.113; and Sec. 1926.251; tables H-1 and H-3 through H-19).
Employers now must use slings with permanently affixed identification markings that depict the maximum load capacity.
The final rule provides similar protection for shackles in Sec. Sec.1915.113 and 1926.251.
Final Subpart F Rule: General Working Conditions in Shipyard Employment
OSHA published the final Subpart F Rule: General Working Conditions in Shipyard Employment.
The rule becomes effective and enforceable on August 1, 2011, except for the provisions in § 1915.89 (Lockout/Tagout), which become effective and enforceable on October 31, 2011.
Find the new rule here: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2011/pdf/2011-9567.pdf
OSHA has released a list of frequently asked questions on the newly released Subpart F.
While this is not an extensive list it may provide some information as we review and implement the new standard.
Find the FAQs here: http://www.osha.gov/dts/maritime/standards/general_working_conditions_faqs.html
New Safety Guide for Rigging
OSHA has released a new safety guide for rigging. The
"Safety and Health Injury Prevention Sheets"
- or SHIPS for short - includes written guidance, analysis of fatal accidents, illustrations, video animations of dangerous situations, and posters.
The guide goes beyond connecting cables or ropes to loads and addresses falls, avoiding electrical shocks, and where to not stand when working near heavy equipment such cranes and hoists.
Heat Stress Information
Workers who are exposed to extreme heat or work in hot environments may be at risk of heat stress.
Heat Stress Fact Sheet
Heat Stress Poster
NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topics
OSHA Safety and Health Topics
Enforcement Guidance for Personal Protective Equipment
Enforcement Guidance for Personal Protective Equipment in General Industry,
establishes OSHA's general enforcement and guidance policy for its standards addressing personal protective equipment (PPE).
It instructs OSHA enforcement personnel on both the agency’s interpretations of those standards and the procedures for enforcing them.
Enforcement Guidance for PPE
New Resources for Cranes & Derricks Rule
Additional compliance assistance resources for the cranes and derricks in construction final rule have been posted to the OSHA Web site.
These resources include:
- OSHA's Cranes and Derricks in Construction
Final Rule page
contains the complete text of the rule, additional fact sheets, a PowerPoint presentation,
an archived Web chat and answers to frequently asked questions.
- Subpart CC PowerPoint presentation
provides an overview of Subpart CC.
Assembly and Disassembly fact sheet
addresses the requirements for crane and derrick assembly and disassembly under Subpart CC of the rule.
Operator Qualification and Certification fact sheet
addresses the requirements for operator qualification and certification under Subpart CC of the rule.
Qualified Rigger fact sheet is a guide for determining if a worker is qualified to properly rig the load for a particular job
under Subpart CC of the rule.
Signal Person fact sheet explains the proper qualifications for a worker whose job is to direct a crane operator under conditions
such as when the crane's point of operation is not in full view of the operator or the operator's view is obstructed in the direction the equipment is traveling.
OSHA Shifts on Noise Exposure Standards
OSHA is reversing the enforcement policy it has used since 1983,
which allows most employers to use PPE and a hearing conservation program rather than engineering and administrative controls.
A "proposed interpretation" document published in the October 19, 2010 Federal Register may be an enforcement milestone for OSHA
because it reverses the policy it has used for 27 years in general industry and construction cases involving workers' exposure to noise.
Since 1983, the agency has not cited employers who used PPE and a hearing conservation program rather than engineering and administrative controls,
unless the noise is so high that it borders on 100 dBA when the most effective hearing protectors are used or the controls cost less than an effective hearing conservation program would cost.
In practice, controls are almost always more expensive, so citations for failure to use them are rare.
But they apparently will increase soon.
Signed by OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels,
explains that OSHA proposes now to interpret 29 CFR 1910.95(b)(1) and 1926.52(b) as they are written - and in accordance with the hierarchy of controls,
which begins with engineering and administrative controls to reduce or eliminate exposures.
These sections of the two noise standards are almost identical.
They say, "When employees are subjected to sound exceeding those listed [in tables within the standard],
feasible administrative or engineering controls shall be utilized.
If such controls fail to reduce sound levels within the levels [of the tables],
personal protective equipment ... shall be provided and used to reduce sound levels within the levels of the table."
The document says OSHA proposes to interpret "feasible" in the standards as meaning the same thing as it does in section 6(b)(5) of the OSH Act: "capable of being done" or "achievable."
The agency further explained that it proposes to consider administrative or engineering controls economically feasible
"if they will not threaten the employer's ability to remain in business or if the threat to viability results from the employer's having failed to keep up with industry safety and health standards."
The agency said it welcomes comments (www.regulations.gov,
Docket No. OSHA-2010-0032) by December 20 from interested parties on the proposed interpretation.
OSHA Alliance Promotes Shipbuilder Safety
A recent Alliance between OSHA and the Shipbuilding Group will provide shipyard workers and employers with informational tools and access to training resources to help prevent worker injuries and illnesses.
The Alliance will educate workers about their rights and address safety issues experienced by limited- and non-English speaking workers.
It will also focus on protecting workers from being struck by objects and preventing slip, trip and fall hazards, as well as preventing musculoskeletal injuries.
The Shipbuilding Group consists of the American Shipbuilding Association, National Shipbuilding Research Program and Shipbuilders Council of America.
The group represents shipyards with more than 150,000 machinists, sheet metal workers, plumbers, pipefitters and others involved in building ships.
This figure includes more than 90 percent of naval shipbuilding workers and a significant percentage of workers in commercial shipbuilding.
See the news release
for more information on this Alliance.
Through the Alliance Program, OSHA works
with groups committed to worker safety and health to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses.
These groups include unions, consulates, trade or professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, businesses and educational institutions.
OSHA and the groups work together to develop compliance assistance tools and resources, share information with workers and employers, and educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities.
Alliance Program participants do not receive exemptions from OSHA programmed inspections.
OSHA at 40: New Challenges and New Directions
OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels sets out his own sense of OSHA's history
and the Labor Department's vision about where (and how) OSHA should be moving going forward.
OSHA at 40
New Cranes and Derricks Rule Published in Federal Register
OSHA's new rule
addressing the use of cranes and derricks in construction was published in the
The rule, which replaces a decades-old version based on outdated standards, will take effect Nov. 8.
It addresses critically important provisions for crane operation and incorporates technological advances that will provide
improved protection for about 4.8 million workers employed by 267,000 construction, crane rental and crane certification establishments.
OSHA Roll-On Roll-Off (RO-RO) Ship and Dock Safety Guidance Document
This guidance document will help marine cargo handling employers and workers involved in roll-on roll-off (RO-RO) operations recognize hazards and prevent accidents, injuries and fatalities when loading or unloading ships in port.
OSHA Training Standards Policy Statement
OSHA Training Standards Policy Statement
MEMORANDUM FOR: REGIONAL ADMINISTRATORS
FROM: DAVID MICHAELS, PhD, MPH Assistant Secretary
SUBJECT: OSHA Training Standards Policy Statement
The purposes of this memorandum are to reiterate OSHA's policy that employee training required by OSHA standards must be presented
in a manner that employees can understand,
and to provide enforcement guidance to the area and regional offices relative to the Agency's training standards.
This position applies to all of the Agency’s agriculture, construction, general industry, and maritime training requirements.
Employer's Training Obligation
Many OSHA standards require that employees receive training so that work will be performed
in a safe and healthful manner. Some of these standards require "training" or "instruction,"
others require "adequate" or "effective" training or instruction, and still others
require training "in a manner" or "in language" that is understandable to employees.
OSHA Issues Guidance on Safe Sling Use
New guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA) will help employers select and use the appropriate slings when handling and
moving materials. The document, Guidance on Safe Sling Use Guidance on Safe Sling Use, was released by the
"OSHA's current general industry standard is more than 30 years old," said Assistant
Secretary of Labor for OSHA, Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. "This guidance document will aid
users in the safe selection and use of slings, including synthetic round slings,
which are not covered in OSHA's standard, as well as the newer grades of materials
being used in alloy steel chain and wire rope slings."
OSHA adopted its general industry sling standard on June 27, 1975, based on ANSI
B30.9-1971 Slings standard. OSHA has since made only minor corrections. OSHA issued
its construction industry sling standard on February 9, 1979, and its sling standard
for shipyards on April 20, 1982.
Improper selection or use of slings can result in sling failure or load slippage,
which in turn can lead to injuries or death. OSHA accident data for the years 1994
through 1996 show that there were four fatalities in general industry involving
the misuse or failure of slings.
OSHA intends to format the final product for use on the Web. With the document in
web format, a user can quickly get information on the type of sling he or she is
using without having to look through material that is not relevant to the workplace.
Edwin G. Foulke, Jr.
Assistant Secretary of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
To Introduce the New OSHA Standard for Employer Payment for Personal Protective
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Good afternoon. Thank you for calling in for this announcement from OSHA.
Today in the Federal Register, OSHA published a final rule on an important workplace
safety and health issue.
Under this rule, employers will provide, at no cost to employees, almost all personal
protective equipment - or, "PPE" - when the PPE is used to comply with OSHA standards.
We will examine the new standard - and the exceptions to the rule - during our discussion
Let me emphasize that the Department of Labor is responsible for promoting the health,
safety and welfare of America's working men and women; and within the Department
of Labor, OSHA is responsible for developing standards and guidance to help employers
meet their legal responsibility to protect their employees.
PURPOSE OF DEVELOPING THE RULE
Over the years, there has been some confusion about whether or not employers are
required to pay for personal protective equipment. Publishing this rule accomplishes
- First, it implements the underlying requirement in the OSH Act that employers pay
for workplace safety and health.
- Second, it creates a clear and consistent policy across OSHA's standards, reducing
confusion about the items that employers are required to pay for.
- Third, and most important, OSHA estimates that the rule will result in over 21,000
fewer occupational injuries per year - such as head, foot and eye injuries, lacerations,
and chemical burns that, in many cases, may be so severe that they can leave an
employee permanently disabled.
IMPACT ON EMPLOYEES AND EMPLOYERS
This significant reduction in injuries through employer-payment of PPE is also expected
to save society over $200 million per year in such forms as reduced direct costs,
including medical and insurance bills. This does not include additional benefits
such as reduced pain and suffering for employees.
It is important to note that employers currently pay for 95 percent of PPE. Requiring
payment for the additional 5 percent is expected to result in a cost of $85 million
to employers. A large percentage of these costs are due to cost shifting from employees
This shift is important. When employees pay for their own PPE,
- they are likely to purchase the wrong equipment,
- they may use the PPE beyond its expected service life, or
- they may avoid purchasing the equipment at all.
When employers pay for PPE, they are more likely to select the right PPE for the
hazards present in their workplaces. When employers pay for PPE, we have found that
they also make sure that the equipment is maintained and replaced as necessary,
and generally take more responsibility for PPE selection and use. It is this improvement
in PPE usage that is expected to result in fewer injuries and fatalities.
PARAMETERS OF THE RULE
My next point is this: The final rule that we are announcing today addresses only
the issue of who pays for PPE. The rule does not require employers to provide PPE
where none has been required before.
In the simplest terms, the rule for employer payment of PPE only applies when equipment
is used by an employer to comply with one of the PPE requirements in OSHA's standards.
In some cases, the OSHA rules describe the exact PPE that is required, and in other
cases the requirements are more general.
The rule contains several exceptions for ordinary safety-toe footwear and prescription
safety eyewear, logging boots, ordinary clothing, and ordinary weather-related gear.
The rule also addresses employee-owned PPE and replacement PPE. I will explain these
exceptions in a moment.
HISTORY OF THE RULE
OSHA first issued a proposed rule for employer payment of PPE eight years ago, in
March 1999. Through public hearings and comment periods, OSHA has worked to develop
a standard that will provide clarity and fairness for employers and employees. Today,
we believe that the Agency has succeeded.
While the clarifications in the new rule have added several paragraphs to the regulatory
text, the rule provides employees no less protection than was provided by the 1999
proposed standard. At the same time, the rule clarifies the responsibilities of
employers in a way that sets a reasonable PPE payment policy.
DETAILS OF THE RULE
I know that the journalists listening in on today's announcement want to ask questions.
Before we do, let us look in more detail about the rulemaking and the individual
provisions of the standard.
First, I would like to discuss the scope of the standard, both in terms of which
employers and employees are covered and the types of equipment that are included.
The rulemaking affects most of OSHA's PPE standards. The rulemaking includes regulatory
text tailored to for Part 1910 General Industry standards, Part 1926 Construction
standards, Part 1915 Shipyard standards, Part 1917 Marine terminal standards, and
Part 1918 Longshoring standards.
The regulatory text is almost the same for each of the industries. There are only
small changes from one industry to the next. For example, the exception for logging
boots in the general industry standard is not found in the construction or shipyard
I would also like to emphasize that the rule only addresses the issue of who pays
for PPE, not the types of PPE an employer must provide. What is or is not a violation
of an OSHA PPE equipment requirement is unchanged by the rule.
UNIFORMS AND SANITARY CLOTHING
Next, I wish to make it clear that the rule only requires payment for PPE. It does
not require payment for uniforms, caps, or other clothing worn solely to identify
a person as an employee.
The rule also does not require payment for items worn to keep employees clean for
purposes unrelated to safety or health. For example, blue jeans, aprons or other
apparel, when worn solely to prevent clothing and/or skin from becoming soiled.
The rule also does not require payment for items worn for product safety, consumer
safety, or patient safety and health, rather than employee safety and health. For
example, some employers require food service employees to wear hairnets for food
1910 PROVISIONS - WHEN PPE IS REQUIRED
Now I would like to walk through the standard and explain the individual provisions.
I will use the 1910 version, but the policies will be the same for all five industries.
The general payment provision, 1910.132(h)(1) states that payment is required for
any PPE used by an employer to comply with one of the PPE requirements in OSHA's
standards. If the PPE is not required, then the employer is not required to pay
for it. When an employer selects a specific type of PPE to be used at the workplace
to comply with a standard, the employer is required to pay for it.
The next paragraph, 1910.132(h)(2) states that the employer is not required to pay
for non-specialty safety-toe protective footwear (including steel-toe shoes or steel-toe
boots) and non-specialty prescription safety eyewear, provided that the employer
permits such items to be worn off the job-site.
If the employer requires employees to keep non-specialty safety-toe protective footwear
and non-specialty prescription safety eyewear at the workplace, the employer must
pay for the items.
If the safety-toe protective footwear (including steel-toe shoes or steel-toe boots)
and prescription safety eyewear are non-standard "specialty" items, the employer
must pay for them. For example, prescription eyeglass inserts for full-facepiece
respirators, or non-skid shoes for floor strippers are specialty items so payment
will be required.
Paragraph 1910.132(h)(3) addressed metatarsal protection.
OSHA allows employers to use metatarsal guards or footwear with built-in metatarsal
protection when metatarsal protection is needed in the workplace. If the employer
requires employees to wear metatarsal shoes or boots, the employer is required to
pay for the footwear.
However, when the employer provides metatarsal guards and allows the employee, at
his or her request, to use shoes or boots with built-in metatarsal protection, the
employer is not required to pay for the metatarsal shoes or boots.
Employers may contribute to the cost of metatarsal shoes or boots should they choose
to do so. Some employers currently offer their employees a choice between using
a metatarsal guard provided and paid for by the employer or a metatarsal shoe or
boot with some portion of the cost of the shoe or boot paid for by the employer,
essentially establishing an allowance system, and this is an acceptable practice.
Under 1910.132(h)(4) the employer is not required to pay for the logging boots required
by 29 CFR §1910.266(d)(1)(v). The logging standard exempts these boots and the regulatory
text here simply reflects that exemption.
EVERYDAY CLOTHING & WEATHER/TEMPERATURE ISSUES
Under 1910.132(h)(4) the employer is not required to pay for everyday clothing,
such as long-sleeve shirts, long pants, street shoes, and normal work boots. This
exception applies even when the employer requires employees to use these items,
and the clothing provides protection from a workplace hazard.
Similarly, under 1910.132(h)(4), the employer is not required to pay for ordinary
clothing, skin creams, or other items, used solely for protection from weather,
such as winter coats, jackets, gloves, parkas, rubber boots, hats, raincoats, ordinary
sunglasses, and sunscreen.
If ordinary weather gear is not sufficient to protect the employee, and special
equipment or extraordinary clothing is needed to protect the employee from unusually
severe weather conditions, the employer is required to pay for the protection. Clothing
used to protect employees from artificial heat or cold is not part of this exception.
For example, employees working in a freezer warehouse may need heavy coats. In this
situation, the employer is required to pay for the protection.
Paragraph 1910.132(h)(5) addresses payment for replacement PPE. It states that the
employer must pay for replacement PPE, except when the employee has lost or intentionally
damaged the PPE.
The new standard does not address how often PPE is to be replaced. Replacement is
determined by each standard that requies PPE.
The next paragraph addresses employee-owned equipment. It states that where an employee
provides adequate protective equipment which he or she owns and brings to the worksite,
the employer may allow the employee to use it and is not required to reimburse the
employee for that equipment. However, the employer shall not require an employee
to provide or pay for his or her own PPE, unless the PPE is excepted by another
During the rulemaking, some employers stated that it is traditional in some industries
for employees to supply their own PPE, especially when the employees move frequently
from job to job. This part of the rule recognizes these traditions and does not
require employers to pay for PPE in this situation. However,
- The employee's use of his or her own PPE must be completely voluntary.
- The employee can withdraw use of his or her own PPE at any time.
- If the employer allows an employee to use PPE they already own, the employer is
still responsible for making sure the PPE is adequate, properly maintained, and
sanitary, under the applicable PPE standard.
IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT
The last provision in the rule provides an enforcement deadline of six months from
the date of publication. This six-month deadline will allow employers time to change
their existing PPE payment policies to comply with the final rule.
Finally, the standard contains a note stating that if another rule specifies payment,
the other rule will prevail.
The rule does not specify the method that employers must use to pay for PPE, and
employers can choose any method that works for them. Many employers use allowances
or reimbursement systems, or maintain a stock of PPE and hand it out to their employees.
All these methods are acceptable, as long as the employee receives the PPE at no
OSHA believes that the rule will benefit employers and employees alike by resolving
this longstanding and contentious issue. We believe the rule will result in fewer
injuries and fatalities, and we look forward to these safety benefits.
HazComWriter Compliance Tool
Hazard Communication is one of the most frequently cited OSHA standards. The attached
website/software provides a user friendly way of developing your program to assist
in meeting standards and providing a safe work environment for your employees.
Technology News 524: HazComWriter Compliance Tool for OSHA Rule 29 CFR 1910.1200
Most Frequently Requested Publications from OSHA
The following were the 20 most frequently requested publications from OSHA in May
OSHA Poster (English) (OSHA Publication 3165)
Department of Labor Poster Package (FLSA, FMLA, OSHA, EEO, and EPPA) (English)
Recordkeeping Forms (OSHA Forms 300, 300A, 301)
Best Practices Guide: Fundamentals of a Workplace First-Aid Program
Employee Workplace Rights (OSHA Publication 3021)
OSHA Poster (Spanish) (OSHA Publication 3167)
Heat Stress QuickCard (OSHA Publication 3154)
Small Business Handbook (OSHA Publication 2209)
Department of Labor Poster Package (FLSA, FMLA, OSHA, EEO, and EPPA) (Spanish)
Personal Protective Equipment (OSHA Publication 3151)
Fall Protection Tips Quick Card (OSHA Publication 3257)
Construction Pocket Guide (OSHA Publication 3252)
Training Requirements in OSHA Standards and Training Guidelines
How to Plan for Workplace Emergencies and Evacuations (OSHA Publication 3088)
Medical and Dental Offices: A Guide to Compliance With OSHA Standards
Chemical Hazard Communication (OSHA Publication 3084)
Recordkeeping Brochure (OSHA Publication 3169)
Electrical Safety Quick Card (OSHA Publication 3298)
Aerial Lifts QuickCard (OSHA Publication 3267)
Hand and Power Tools (OSHA Publication 3080)
OSHA Releases New Marine Terminal Safety Guidance
OSHA has released a new guidance document titled "Traffic Safety in Marine Terminals"
to help the maritime industry avoid traffic accidents and prevent or reduce work-related
fatalities and injuries.
"This new guidance will help employers design and implement a traffic safety program
for vehicles and pedestrians," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin
G. Foulke Jr. "A traffic safety program should address marine terminal traffic hazards
and meet OSHA's standards. Traffic safety is an important issue at marine terminals
with their fast-paced operations and large, heavy equipment."
The guidance document was recommended by the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational
Safety and Health in March, 2004. It is not a standard or regulation and it carries
no new legal obligations. Rather, it focuses on the factors that contribute to traffic
related injuries and identifies measures to prevent them, such as safety checks,
vehicle selection and maintenance, traffic controls, safe operation of vehicles,
and safe driving techniques.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 15 fatalities in the marine
cargo industry in 2005, eight of which were the result of transportation incidents.
To view the guidance, visit http://www.osha.gov/Publications/3337-07-2007-English-07192007.html
OSHA Manual on Managing Worker Safety and Health
An OSHA manual, "Managing Worker Safety and Health" was developed by the US Department
of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Office of Cooperative Programs,
has been posted on the Web by the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.
Copy and paste the link below to your web browser, or simply click
on the link: http://www.dolir.mo.gov/ls/safetyconsultation/ccp
Fact Sheet Available for Employers and Employees in Maritime Industry
The latest addition to OSHA's ongoing series of safety and health
fact sheets is Radio Communication Can Assist Container Gantry Crane Operators
in Marine Terminals. The document highlights OSHA's requirements
for radio communication between a crane operator and employees under the crane and
aboard ship. It also presents a series of safety precautions employers and employees
should take to prevent injuries caused by moving cargo cranes.
New Quick Card Focuses on Carbon Monoxide Hazards
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning is the subject of a new Quick
Card recently posted to OSHA's Web site. The card, available in both English and
Spanish, contains a list of common sources, symptoms, and effects of carbon monoxide
exposure, along with a list of preventive measures employees can take to protect
themselves from carbon monoxide hazards. It can be downloaded from OSHA's Web site
on the Quick
Cards page, or can be ordered by calling OSHA's publications
office at (202) 693-1888.
Abrasive Blasting Hazards in Shipyard Employment
OSHA Guidance Document. (2006, December)
Marine Terminal Fall Protection for Personnel Platforms
Also available as a PDF - 2 pages, 222 KB.
OSHA Fact Sheet. (2006, June)
Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Hexavalent Chromium Standards
This guide is intended to help small businesses comply with the Occupational Safety
and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hexavalent Chromium (Cr(VI)) standards. Employees
exposed to Cr(VI) are at increased risk of developing serious adverse health effects
including lung cancer, asthma and damage to the nasal passages and skin. This guide
describes the steps that employers are required to take to protect employees from
the hazards associated with exposure to Cr(VI).
OSHA Issues Instruction on Commercial Diving Operations
A new OSHA instruction provides occupational safety and
health guidelines for commercial diving operations. According to the agency, the
- Consolidates previously issued interpretations of commercial diving operations standards
- Answers some commonly asked questions related to commercial diving operations
- Provides a checklist to improve the consistency and efficiency of inspections of
diving equipment, systems and operations
Evacuation Plans and Procedure eTool
OSHA provides an Evacuation Plans and Procedures eTool to help
employers prevent severe employee injuries during emergencies.
Longshoring, Marine Terminals Directive Posted
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration May 23 posted an updated longshoring
and marine terminals "tool shed" compliance directive.
The directive, CPL 02-00-139, incorporates recently issued interpretations and revises
the instruction's format to comply with current OSHA policy, the agency said. The
document provides guidance on the application of OSHA standards in longshoring and
marine terminal activities, as well as provides consistent information on marine
cargo handling industry standards.
The publication replaces a Sept. 30, 2003, directive (CPL 02-00-132).
The new document is available at http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/Directive_pdf/CPL_02-00-139.pdf
OSHA Issues Final Standard on Hexavalent Chromium
A final standard covering occupational exposure to hexavalent chromium
in general industry, construction, and shipyards was published by OSHA in the Federal Register February 28,2006. The new standard
lowers the agency's permissible exposure limit (PEL) for hexavalent chromium from
52 to 5 micrograms per cubic meter of air as an 8-hour time weighted average, and
includes provisions for respiratory protection, personal protective equipment, recordkeeping,
preferred methods for controlling exposure, and more. Hexavalent chromium compounds are most commonly
used as a structural and anti-corrosive element in stainless steel, iron, and steel
production, and in welding and painting, and have been associated with lung cancer
and skin disorders.
OSHA answers questions regarding Restricted Work
Question: An employee has a work-related occupational injury and is examined
by the company physician. The employee can be returned to work, full duty; however,
the employee is given a 20-pound lifting restriction, or a "do not use left hand"
restriction for 3 weeks. The restriction is given because the employees may get
rotated for non-routine tasks, or equipment breakdown that might occur once or twice
a month. By issuing the restriction, the supervisor knows not to allow that employee
to do non-routine tasks. Is this still considered a work restriction for recordkeeping
purposes and do the total days need to be counted on the OSHA Log since the restriction
is for non-routine tasks and the physician is saying the employee can perform all
of his normal routine work and work the full work day?
Answer: This case should not be considered as a case involving
restricted work activity. §1904.7(b)(4)(i)(A) states that restricted work occurs
when an employer keeps the employee from performing one or more of the routine functions
of his or her job. For recordkeeping purposes, an employee's routine functions are
those work activities the employee regularly performs at least once per week. In
the above scenario, the employee is restricted from activities he or she may have
performed only once or twice a month and therefore does not meet the definition
of routine job functions. Click Here for the entire letter.
Question: An employee is injured at work and work relationship is established
for recordkeeping purposes. The employee is now not able to drive himself to work.
The employee may have a cast or splint on, arm in a sling, using crutches, or leg
immobilized, etc. The employer has work the employee could do if the employee could
get to work. The employee stated he was not able to drive. Prior to the injury,
the employee drove himself to work everyday. He was not in a car pool, or didn't
catch a ride with co-workers, etc. Would this case be a days away from work case
or a restricted work activity case? If the employer provided transportation (even
though not required by the regulation to do so), could the company count the days
as restricted or must they still count the days as days away from work? Would the
answer be the same if the employee's doctor wrote a restriction of "no driving"
but the company says "the employee can get a ride with someone else, we have work
Answer: The case must be recorded in a manner reflecting what
actually occurs. If the employee does not make it to work, the case must be recorded
as a case involving days away from work. If the employee is driven to work by the
employer, or anyone else, and the employee performs restricted work, the case must
be recorded as a case involving restricted work activity. Click Here for the entire letter.
Facial hair and voluntary use of filtering facepiece respirators
OSHA Offers Guidance on Shipyard Fire Protection Standard
OSHA recently posted new information on its web site to help employers and workers
better understand the Shipyard Fire Protection Standard.
Shipyard Fire Protection Frequently Asked Questions is divided
into three sections: general questions, fire watch questions, and questions about
fuel gas and oxygen supply lines.
OSH Answers - Guide to Writing an OHS Policy Statement.pdf
This document has ideas for creating a safety and health policy and
can help answer the question "How do I write a safety policy?"
OSHA 2254 Training Requirements in OSHA Standards and Training
This informational booklet is intended to provide a generic, non-exhaustive
overview of OSHA 2254 Training Requirements.
OSHA Offers Best Practices Guide To Developing Workplace First Aid Programs
There are a number of elements to include when planning a first aid program for
a particular workplace. OSHA has issued a document to help employers and employees
develop such programs: Best Practices Guide: Fundamentals of a Workplace First-Aid
"Workplace first-aid program is a key component of any comprehensive safety and
health management system," said OSHA Administrator Ed Foulke. "Our new guide offers
practical information on how to help employers plan and implement first-aid programs
as well as effective training."
The guide can be accessed at http://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3317first-aid.pdf.
For additional information, see OSHA's Safety and Health Topics page
on Medical and First Aid at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/medicalfirstaid/index.html.
Workers Safe During Clean Up and Recovery Operations Following Hurricanes
OSHA Pocket Guide on Concrete Manufacturing
OSHA Pocket Guide on Construction Safety
are a series on worker safety being developed by OSHA.
Quick-reference tools help identify potential hazards and possible solutions to
those hazards for the most frequently cited standards in construction. It also offers
safety checklists on personal protection equipment, scaffolding, electricity, floor
and wall openings, elevated surfaces, hazard communication, cranes, and forklifts
to help avoid hazards that cause injuries, illnesses and fatalities.
The documents can be downloaded by right-clicking on the above links or a printed
copy can be ordered by calling OSHA's publications office at (202) 693-1888.
OSHA presented the following at the VSRA/OSHA seminar:
OSHA Fire Protection in Shipyard Employment Assistance Presentation
OSHA Marine Hanging Staging Guidance Document
(These files may take a little longer to download
- they are about 4 megs).
Assistance for the Maritime
This section of the OSHA web site, devoted to the Maritime Industry,
covers topics such as:
- Standards and Guidance
- Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH)
- Safety and Health
- Alliances and Partnerships
- Fire Protection
Concepts and Techniques of Machine Safeguarding
This manual has been prepared as an aid to employers, employees,
machine manufacturers, machine guard designers and fabricators, and all others with
an interest in protecting workers against the hazards of moving machine parts.
This link will bring you to numerous downloadable informational fact
sheets highlighting OSHA programs, policies, or standards.
Ensuring the Health and Safety of Workers with Disabilities
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work has published a
guide on how to secure the workplace health and safety of people with disabilities.
It provides user-friendly and practical guidance on how the responsibilities of
equality legislation can tie in with health and safety responsibilities. The factsheet
also demonstrates how a practical application of the two sets of legislation can
benefit both the worker and employer.
General Industry Presentations
Ten (10) downloadable presentation materials designed to assist trainers
conducting OSHA 10-hour General Industry outreach training for workers. Since workers
are the target audience, these materials emphasize hazard identification, avoidance,
and control - not standards.
Longshoring and Marine Terminals: Hazard and Abatement Summaries
This link will bring you to a summary of guide sheets developed to
help employers and workers in the maritime cargo handling industry, recognize and
control the significant hazards commonly experienced in longshoring and marine terminal
MSHAs Guide to Equipment Guarding
This guide is provided to assist the mining community with designing,
installing and maintaining equipment guards to prevent miners from contacting hazardous
moving machine parts. Some of our Members use equipment similar to that used in
the mining community, and this is an excellent guide for assistance. Contact with
machine parts may result in serious accident or event death. Proper equipment guarding
is essential to reduce this risk.
SHIP - Hot Work-Welding, Cutting and Brazing.
The shipyard community and OSHA have jointly developed Safety and
Health Injury Prevention Sheets (SHIPS). The goal of SHIPS is to reduce or eliminate
unsafe work practices by increasing employer and worker awareness of safety and
Designed for both employers and workers, SHIPS presents information
on hazard awareness and controls in a user-friendly format. Pictures from actual
shipyards depict hazards and recommended solutions. The time-tested solutions presented
are those the shipyard community has found to be most effective in reducing or eliminating
Safety and Health Topics
In its Strategic Plan, OSHA recognizes the need for outreach programs
to promote voluntary mitigation of workplace hazards. Safety and Health Topics has
been created toward that purpose by providing ready access to selected occupational
safety and health information via the Internet. Technical staff from various OSHA
offices have joined in providing these pages targeted toward the above mission.
Editors and Editorial Boards evaluate the hundreds of references available about
a particular subject, and select those references considered most important for
achieving the stated mission. The entries selected may include a variety of OSHA
and non-OSHA reference materials, such as full-text manuals, training materials,
slide shows, standards, compliance guidance, etc., and links to related Internet
Safety and Health Topics is rapidly becoming a primary resource to the occupational
safety and health community. With the continued support from our users, Editors
and Editorial Boards, we are convinced it can be an important aid for complying
with OSHA standards and providing a safer workplace.
The following links within Safety and Health Topics are highlighted for Member quick
Crane, Derrick, and Hoist Safety
Involving the Inadvertent Connection of Air-line Respirators to Inert Gas Supplies
OSHA unveiled a new Safety and Health Topics webpage this month,
providing important information on programs and approaches to help foster drug-free
workplaces. The Workplace Substance Abuse page provides recommendations for small
businesses to effectively address substance abuse in the workplace and suggests
ways to develop drug-free workplace programs. Links to further information are provided
on federal and state laws, state and community resources, training and education
materials for supervisors, and resources for more information on addiction, treatment
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