Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents Standard Interpretations - (Archived) Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.5; 1910.132; 1910.268
• Status: Archived

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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

January 10, 1995

Mr. Robert W. Craig
Vice President/Safety Officer
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
Local 827
263 Ward Street East Windsor
New Jersey 08520

Dear Mr. Craig:

Thank you for your letter of November 21, requesting an interpretation of the Telecommunications Standard, 29 CFR 1910.268 regarding Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Specifically, you requested clarification on who pays for PPE, including footwear.

The employer's obligation to pay and provide for personal protective equipment under the Telecommunications Standard, 1910.268, is the same as the obligation under the Personal Protective Equipment Standard 1910.132. As noted in the memorandum of October 18, from James W. Stanley, Deputy Assistant Secretary, OSHA has interpreted its general PPE standard, as well as specific standards, to require employers to provide and to pay for personal protective equipment required by the company for the worker to do his or her job safely and in compliance with OSHA standards.

Where equipment is very personal in nature and is usable by workers off the job, the matter of payment may be left to labor-management negotiations. The memorandum provides examples of PPE that is personal in nature and often used away from the worksite, including safety shoes for employees. However, safety shoes subject to contamination by carcinogens or other toxic or hazardous substances which cannot be safely worn off-site must be paid for by the employer.

The memorandum also gives examples of PPE that is personal in nature and would not normally be used away from the worksite, including specialty foot protection such as metatarsal shoes and linemen's shoes with built in gaffs. Such PPE should be paid for by the employer.

We appreciate your interest in personal protective equipment for your members and for all workers in the telecommunication industry.

Sincerely,



Joseph A. Dear
Assistant Secretary


ENCLOSURES



November 21, 1994

Mr. Joseph A. Dear
Assistant Secretary Labor OSHA
200 Constitution Avenue
N.W. Washington, D.C. 20210

Mr. Dear:

I am writing to you for your assistance in reaching a resolve of a matter dealing with future employment of the members of this Local Union employed by Bell Atlantic-NJ.

The problem arose in late September when Labor Relations informed the Union that as of October 6, 1994 all outside crafts would be required to purchase steel-tipped shoes because it was now required by OSHA.

I have requested the Hazardous Job Evaluation Study Sheets and have not received any as of this writing. When I inquired how the Company established which employee that would be required to wear the ANSI C/75 I/75 Shoes, they replied anyone who lifts over thirty (30) pounds or is subject to rolling hazards. Several of our members have been sent home with loss of pay and told not to return until they purchase the ANSI approved shoes. We represent some five thousand (5,000) Bell Atlantic-NJ employees affected by this issue, which brings me to the question at hand.

We are covered under 1910.268 which is the telecommunications standard - on Page 718 and 719, Paragraph (e) - Tools and Personal Protective Equipment - Generally. It states; "personal protective equipment, protective devices and special tools needed for the work of employees shall be provided and the employer shall ensure that they are used by employees.", etc.

In 1910.132 protective footwear has been added to P.P.E. under 1910.136 as noted in the Federal Register 161.59, No. 661 Wednesday, April 6, 1994/Rules and Regulations, foot protection is required of the proper type only after the criteria in 1910.132 has been completed. This has not been done and the October 6th deadline has past.

In 1910.05 Page 72 of the Code of Federal Regulations Revised as of July 1, 1993 under Applicability of Standards under (c) where it notes if a specific standard applies such as in this case where 1910.268 list P.P.E. shall be provided and historically all P.P.E. has been provided in the telecommunications industry by the employer, including prescription eye protection, etc., and in keeping with the fact that telecommunications was ruled out of confined space entry because of 1910.268 supersedes 1910.146. In keeping with that, and that our Linemen, Communications Technicians, etc., are exposed to known carcinogens such as creosote these shoes may not be able to be safely worn off the job as noted in Mr. Stanley's memo of October 18, 1994.

I have spoken with both Mr. Raymond Donnelly and Mr. Russelle McCollough over the past month and one-half and they were both very helpful and suggested that I write to you on this matter.

I would appreciate hearing from you on this matter as soon as possible or would like to meet with you on this issue at your earliest convenience. If you have any questions, please call me at (609) 443-4100 or by fax at (609) 448-5110.

Very truly yours,



Robert W. Craig
Vice President and Safety Officer


Enclosures



Mr. William L. Laing
President/Financial Secretary
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
Local 827
263 Ward Street East Windsor
New Jersey 08520

Dear Mr. Laing:

This is in response to your letter of October 27, requesting interpretation of the Telecommunications Standard, 29 CFR 1910.268 regarding Personal Protective Equipment (P.P.E). Specifically, you requested clarification on who pays for P.P.E., including footwear.

The employers obligation to pay and provide for personal protective equipment under the Telecommunications Standard 1910.268, is the same as the obligation under the Personal Protective Equipment Standard 1910.132. As noted in the memorandum of October 18, from James W. Stanley, Deputy Assistant Secretary, "OSHA has interpreted its general PPE standard, as well as specific standards, to require employers to provide and to pay for personal protective equipment required by the company for the worker to do his or her job safely and in compliance with OSHA standards".

Where equipment is very personal in nature and is usable by workers off the job, the matter of payment may be left to labor-management negotiations. The memorandum gives examples of P.P.E. that is personal in nature and often used away from the worksite, including safety shoes for employees.

The memorandum also gives examples of P.P.E. that is personal in nature and would not normally be used away from the worksite, including specialty foot protection such as metatarsal shoes and linemen's shoes with built in gaffs. They should be paid for by the employer.

We apologize for any apparent misinterpretation of this policy. If you have any questions or concerns please contact Russelle R. McCollough at (202)219-8031.

Sincerely,



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




October 18, 1994

MEMORANDUM FOR: REGIONAL ADMINISTRATORS

               HEADS OF DIRECTORATES

FROM:           JAMES W. STANLEY DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY

SUBJECT:        Employer Obligation to Pay for Personal Protective
               Equipment
It is important that a uniform approach be taken by all OSHA offices with respect to the question of employer responsibility for payment of the cost of personal protective equipment (PPE). Under certain circumstances, employers may be obliged to pay for personal protective equipment, as they would pay for other engineering and administrative controls. Please advise your staff to apply the following guidance when dealing with this issue.

The personal protective equipment standards at 29 CFR 1910.132 through .138 establish the employer's obligation to provide personal protective equipment to employees.

"Protective equipment, including personal protective equipment for eyes, face, head and extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices and protective shields and barriers, shall be provided, used and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition wherever it is necessary by reasons of hazards of processes or environment, chemical hazards, radiological hazards or mechanical irritants encountered in a manner capable of causing injury or impairment in the function of any part of the body through absorption, inhalation or physical contact." (29 CFR 1910.132(a)).

In order to accommodate work situations in which it is customary, as an exception, for workers in a particular trade to provide their own PPE, the standard acknowledges that employees may provide their own equipment, but does not specify that practice as the norm; instead, the standard underscores the employer's obligation to assure that such equipment is adequate and that it is properly maintained.

The "worker-provided" clause on the PPE standard (1910.132(b)), now also codified for the construction industry at 1926.95(b), has raised questions as to when employers are required to pay for PPE. This memorandum is intended to clarify the situation.

OSHA has interpreted its general PPE standard, as well as specific standards, to require employers to provide and to pay for personal protective equipment required by the company for the worker to do his or her job safely and in compliance with OSHA standards. Where equipment is very personal in nature and is usable by workers off the job, the matter of payment may be left to labor-management negotiations. Examples of PPE that would not normally be used away from the worksite include, but are not limited to: welding gloves, wire mesh gloves, respirators, hard hats, specialty glasses and goggles (e.g., designed for laser or ultraviolet radiation protection), specialty foot protection (such as metatarsal shoes and linemen's shoes with built in gaffs), face shields and rubber gloves, blankets, cover-ups and hot sticks and other live-line tools used by power generation workers. Examples of PPE that is personal in nature and often used away from the worksite include non-specialty safety glasses, safety shoes, and cold-weather outer wear of the type worn by construction workers. However, shoes or outerwear subject to contamination by carcinogens or other toxic or hazardous substances which cannot be safely worn off-site must be paid for by the employer. Failure of the employer to pay for PPE that is not personal and not used away from the job is a violation and shall be cited.

Compliance officers shall be informed of this policy and advised to evaluate carefully assertions by employers that particular items of personal protective equipment should be paid for by employees.

Please provide a copy of this memorandum to State designees.

Questions on this policy may be directed to Russelle R. McCollough in the Office of General Industry Compliance Assistance at 202-219-8041 ext. 105.


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.


Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents Standard Interpretations - (Archived) Table of Contents