OSHA’s PPE standard (29 CFR 1910.132[h]) says that employers must pay for most types
of PPE when used by employees exclusively in the workplace (that is, not for personal use
at home or other non-workplace activities). The general rule of thumb is that you must pay
for PPE whenever an OSHA rule explicitly requires it, such as for respiratory protection
when air contaminant levels are above the PEL or hearing protection when noise exceeds
established decibel levels.

OSHA’s “employer pays rule” also mandates that you pay to replace required PPE on a
regular basis. But you don’t have to pay for replacements whenever employees request it as
long as the PPE is still in safe condition. If an employee purchases his or her own PPE and
is allowed to use it a work, you are not required to reimburse the employee for that
purchase. You also don’t have to pay for replacement PPE if the employee has lost the item
due to negligence or has intentionally damaged the PPE (1910.132[h][5]).

OSHA recommends that you establish a policy to clarify PPE payment and replacement
rules so that both employees and supervisors understand requirements concerning matters
such as:

• What constitutes normal wear and tear (expected service life)
• Lost or damaged PPE (negligence vs. uncontrollable circumstances)
• How to safeguard against PPE abuse and negligence
• Allowing (or disallowing) employees to use PPE for personal activities that are not
work related

The following is a non-exhaustive list of PPE you must provide at no cost to employees:

►Electrical protection (electrically insulated tools, rubber insulating gloves)
►Chemical protection (chemical-resistant gloves/aprons/clothing, encapsulating
chemical-protective suits)
►Foot protection (metatarsal foot protection, special boots for longshoremen working
logs on log ships, rubber boots with steel toes, shoe covers–toe caps and metatarsal
►Eye and face protection (nonprescription eye protection, prescription eyewear
inserts/lenses for full-face respirators, prescription eyewear inserts/lenses for welding and
diving helmets, goggles, face shields, laser safety goggles)
►Head protection (bump caps, hard hats)
►Hearing protection
►Hand/arm/body protection (rubber sleeves, aluminized gloves, mesh cutproof gloves,
mesh or leather aprons, leather gloves)
►Non-specialty gloves (payment is required for PPE to protect from dermatitis, severe
cuts/abrasions; payment is not required if they are only for keeping clean or for cold
weather with no site-specific hazard consideration)
►Reflective work vests
►Respiratory protection
►Skin protection (barrier creams, unless used solely for weather-related protection)
►Fall protection (ladder safety device belts, climbing ensembles used by linemen such as
belts and climbing hooks, window cleaner’s safety straps)
►Fire-fighting PPE (helmets, gloves, boots, proximity suits, full gear)
►Welding PPE (including fire-resistant shirts, jackets, and sleeves)
►Items used in medical/laboratory settings (aprons, lab coats, goggles, disposable
gloves, shoe covers, etc.) to protect from exposure to infectious agents
►Personal flotation devices (life jackets)