On Thursday, July 20, OSHA proposed a revision to its personal protective equipment standard. If you’re unaware of the PPE standard, it’s a requirement in the construction and general industries to ensure that the proper equipment fits properly on employees.
Whether you’re in the construction, roofing or any other industry that requires you to be on a higher elevation, working with dangerous chemicals and more- you must have the proper protection equipment. This is a critical element in OSHA’s program and a critical element in your business.
In order for PPE to work properly, it must fit to adequately protect your employees. If the PPE fails to do so, it could discourage employees from wearing it, presenting additional hazards to them. This proposed revision is for OSHA to provide clarification on this standard.
“OSHA’s general industry and maritime standards, the current standard for construction does not contain explicit requirement that PPE must properly fit each affected employee.” Since there are no specifics, OSHA proposes to “amend 1926.95 © to include the requirement, subparagraph ©(2), that employees select PPE that properly fits each affected employee.”
OSHA gives this proposed revision to avoid hazardous situations. Not having proper PPE, OSHA cited employers 51 times for violations. According to the article, OSHA stated “employers were cited for not providing gloves that properly fit employees, exposing them to chemical and physical hazards.” OSHA also saw several instances where employers provided fall arrest systems but it did not fit the employee causing exposure to fall hazards.
This revision of OSHA’s standard rule does not impose new costs for employers so long that they already are providing their employees with proper fitting PPE. OSHA also provided an estimate of the costs of PPE for employers if they need to change anything in order to comply with the new revision. “Even assuming these estimated costs will be incurred by employers as a result of the rule, the rule easily passes OSHA’s threshold tests for feasibility.” An average construction company has revenues of 3.3 million annually and in the worst case scenario, if these employers had to replace all PPE it could cost $300 which is less than 0.01% of the average employer's revenue. This proposed rule is economically feasible.
OSHA’s revision on PPE is to apply language from general and maritime industry rules into the construction industry. All employees should have the proper PPE in order to reduce any dangerous situation that could occur.
To learn more about what’s going on in the industry, checkout OSHA’s website.