In 1999, OSHA issued a proposal to require employers to pay for all protective equipment, including personal protective equipment (PPE), with explicit exceptions for certain safety shoes, prescription safety eyewear, and logging boots (64 FR 15402). The proposal cited two primary reasons for requiring employers to pay for PPE. First, OSHA preliminarily concluded that the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act, or the Act) implicitly requires employers to pay for PPE is necessary to protect the safety and health of employees.
Second, OSHA preliminarily concluded that an across-the-board employer-payment requirement would result in safety benefits by reducing the misuse or non-use of PPE (64 FR 15406-07). Following an initial notice and comment period, an informal rulemaking hearing, a second notice and comment period on specific issues, and careful Agency deliberation, OSHA finds that its preliminary conclusions are appropriate and is therefore issuing this final standard requiring employers to pay for PPE, with limited exceptions.