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.

March 28, 1995

Michael Lueck
Safety Manager
Airborne Express
145 Hunter Drive
Wilmington, Ohio 45177

Dear Mr. Lueck:

This is in response to your letter of November 28, 1994, sent to Mr. John Miles, Director of Compliance Programs, requesting clarification of OSHA's Personal Protective Equipment standard as it pertains to employees exposed to cold weather. Specifically, you were concerned that there were no objective standards for cold weather gear, from any of the consensus standard organizations, on which to base your PPE hazard assessment. Your letter was forwarded to this office for response. Please accept our apology for the delay in this response.

The new PPE standard for hand protection, 29 CFR 1910.138, specifies the selection criteria to be used when providing hand protection. However, unlike the other revised PPE standards for eye and face, head and foot protection, the hand protection regulation does not specify criteria for the actual equipment to be provided to employees. The standard states "Employers shall base the selection of the appropriate hand protection on an evaluation of the performance characteristics of the hand protection relative to the tasks to be performed, conditions present, duration of use, and the hazards and potential hazards identified." As stated in paragraph 2 of Appendix B, Assessment and selection, "It should be the responsibility of the safety officer to exercise common sense and appropriate expertise to accomplish these tasks."

Employers should use manufactures' data on the effectiveness of any given product to protect against cold, as well as employee feedback, in selecting hand protection.

Thank you for your interest in Occupational Safety and Health. If we can be of further assistance, please contact Russelle R. McCollough at (202)219-8031.


Raymond E. Donnelly, Director
Office of General Industry
Compliance Assistance




November 28, 1994




Mr. John Miles, Director of Compliance Programs
Occupational Safety & Health Administration
200 Constitution Ave. N.W.
Washington DC 20210

Dear Mr. Miles:

In reviewing the new OSHA Standard, 1910.138, Hand Protection, I noticed the requirement for hand protection for "harmful temperature extremes". The Appendix, B-11, suggests we can assure the performance of gloves to meet these requirements "by using standard test procedures".

Mr. Glen Gardner indicated "temperature extremes" really means high temperatures for which there are testing procedures. He did not believe this meant cold temperatures. He was not aware of any standard testing procedure for checking gloves against the cold.

Please confirm our understanding that the standard is not intended to cover cold temperatures or if it does, how we could determine the gloves adequacy.

During this review, I also noticed under 1910.132 General Requirements (6) Employee Owned Equipment, the requirement to determine the adequacy of the Employees' personal protective equipment. How can we determine the adequacy of our employees' gloves, hats and boots to protect them against the hazards of cold weather? Protective chemical clothing, respirators, etc. have various consensus standards by which to evaluate their effectiveness, but I am not aware of any way to evaluate our employees' gloves, hats and boots.

Could you please give us some help? If I am reading too much into this standard, please let me know.

Thank you for your assistance.


Mike Lueck
Safety Manager