Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at

September 2, 1976

Honorable Adlai E. Stevenson
United States Senate
Washington, D. C. 20510

Dear Senator Stevenson:

This is in response to your correspondence dated August 13, 1976, which transmitted a letter dated August 12, 1976, from Mr. George E. Vileta from Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Vileta asked if an employer is responsible for providing personal protective equipment, such as safety glasses and hard hats, used by his employees. Mr. Vileta also asked if an employee could refuse to work more than 40 hours per week.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards require that personal protective equipment be used when there is a reasonable probability of injury that can be prevented by such equipment. The OSHA standards do not, however, specify who pays the cost of such protective equipment. This question normally is settled through discussions between the employer and employees, or through the collective bargaining process, where appropriate.

If your constituent has any questions concerning OSHA's position on this matter, he may feel free to contact the OSHA Office which serves his locale directly. The address and telephone number follow:

Area Director U.S. Department of Labor - OSHA 230 South Dearborn Street, 16th Floor Chicago, Illinois 60604 Telephone: 312-353-1390

I am informed by the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor that there is no Federal law which limits the number of hours an employer can request an employee to work. This, also, is a matter for labor-management relations and is normally subject to any applicable collective bargaining agreement.

If I may be of any further assistance, please feel free to contact me. Pursuant to your request, the enclosure is herewith returned.


Bert M. Concklin
Deputy Assistant Secretary