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 https://www.osha.gov.

MAY 13, 1985

Mr. James M. Peirce
National Federation of Federal Employees
Suite 200
2020 K Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006

Refer to: BLM-CB-01

Dear Mr. Peirce:

This is in response to your letters dated March 5 and May 2, requesting an interpretation of the Basic Program Elements for Federal agencies regarding the purchase of safety and health equipment by employees. Please accept my apology for the delay in this response.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act in Section 19 (a)(2) clearly states that it is the responsibility of the head of each agency to "acquire, maintain, and require the use of safety equipment, personal protective equipment and devices reasonably necessary to protect employees." In 29 CFR 1960.8 (d) the wording differs a little, as it states: "The head of each agency shall acquire, maintain, and require the use of approved personal protective equipment, approved safety equipment, and other devices necessary to protect employees."

Clearly there is little interpretation needed on the above paragraphs, as they speak for themselves.

If you have further questions, please contact me.


Robert A. Rowland
Assistant Secretary