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Personal Protective Equipment: OSHA's Stricter Enforcement

By Jeffery C. Camplin - October 2010 - Material Handling


Potential exposure to hazardous materials often requires employers to provide workers with personal protective equipment (PPE). Managers should be aware that, besides having to pay for most PPE, OSHA now requires workers use PPE that conforms to the most recent consensus standards. Previously, OSHA standards referenced older, outdated standards. Managers should check with PPE vendors to ensure PPE designed to protect workers meets the most current safety standards.

In addition, OSHA also clarified its enforcement policy on PPE use. In the past, compliance officers would cite an employer for one violation when they observed multiple workers without required PPE. Now, compliance officers can issue individual citations for each employee in violation, which can increase proposed penalties significantly.

Managers should recognize that reducing the use of hazardous materials via a comprehensive materials-management program also reduces the need for worker PPE.





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