OSHA requests input on employer payment for PPE record

August 10, 2004

On March 31, 1999, OSHA issued a proposed rule to require employers to pay for all personal protective equipment (PPE) (with a few specific exceptions) used by their employees. Public comments were received, hearings were held, and the record was closed on December 13, 1999.

OSHA has been evaluating the rulemaking record and is in the process of reaching a final determination on the proposal. While analyzing the issues raised in the original proposal and the evidence in the record relating to these issues, OSHA has determined that one issue needs further public comment. Specifically, the issue relates to whether or how a general requirement for employer payment for PPE should address types of PPE that typically are supplied by the employee, taken from job site to job site or from employer to employer, and considered to be "tools of the trade."

In light of the significant comments in the record, OSHA believes that further information is necessary to fully explore the issues concerning a possible limited exception for paying for PPE that is considered to be a "tool of the trade." In particular, OSHA is seeking comments that potentially could lead to agreed-upon criteria establishing what constitutes a "tool of the trade" for purposes of employer payment. As discussed earlier, moving from job-to-job may be one consideration, as may be the personal nature of certain PPE. This noticetherefore reopens the record for a limited period of time for further public comment on this issue. The notice discusses the evidence currently in the record on this issue and presents a series of questions to assist the public in providing further information that would be helpful to OSHA.

Comments must be postmarked no later than August 23, 2004.