Last month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a final rule on the Clarification of Employers’ Duty to Provide Personal Protective Equipment and Train Each Employee. As of January 12, 2009, employers that do not provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and training to every covered employee can be penalized for a separate violation for each unprotected or untrained worker.

Photo: Ed Rehfeld

Noting that the Laborers battled OSHA for years over the agency’s diluted enforcement efforts, LIUNA General President Terence M. O’Sullivan responded, saying, “We support OSHA’s clarification because strong enforcement leads to widespread compliance and improved worksite safety across the nation.  We look forward to further improvements in the OSHA enforcement program during the Obama administration.”

PPE Resources

LIFELINES ONLINE published a series of articles on PPE called From Head to Toe: Safety You Should Know.

Before this clarification, OSHA standards required that covered employees be trained and provided with PPE. However, when OSHA cited an employer for violations of these standards, inspectors could only issue one citation no matter how many covered employees were involved. Under the new rule, OSHA can issue a separate citation and impose penalties for each employee who is not trained nor provided PPE. However, the clarification makes clear that multiple citations will be issued only in situations which evidence flagrant violation and only after the case is reviewed by senior OSHA officials.

The new rule is published in the Federal Register. For more information on PPE, contact the Fund’s Occupational Safety and Health Division at (202) 628-5465.

[Jennifer E. Jones]