Employers responsible for personal protective equipment to prevent North Carolina work injuries

New guidelines for the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) went into effect early last month by order of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as authorities work to reduce the risk of North Carolina work accidents.

Our North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers in Charlotte, Greensboro and Asheville know that personal protective equipment is vital to reducing North Carolina work injuries.
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Back in September of 2009 OSHA issued its final rule regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements for protecting eyes, face, head and feet. This rule updated the PPE sections in the following areas: marine terminals, shipyard employment, general industry and longshoring.

“Workers exposed to occupational hazards requiring head, foot, or eye and face protection will now be provided protection based on a standard that reflects state-of-the-art technology and materials,” said acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Jordan Barab. “This final rule is another step in OSHA’s efforts to update or remove references to outdated national consensus and industry standards.”

Inspection Guidelines for 29 CFR 1910 Subpart I, the revised Personal Protective Equipment Standards for General Industry (June 1995), will now be replaced by Enforcement Guidance for Personal Protective Equipment in General Industry.

The new directive clearly identifies the type of PPE the employer must provide. It also clarifies when the employer is obligated to pay for it.

Common items that employers need to provide, at no cost to workers, include but are not limited to: ladder safety belts, goggles, gloves, foot protection, face shields, hard hats, hearing protection, respirators and fall protections.

Employers are not required to provide such items as: foul weather gear, uniforms, hairnet & gloves used during food prep.

The Enforcement Guidance for Personal Protective Equipment in General Industry directive provides a complete list of items that employers must provide and pay for and those that are the responsibility of the employee.

Employers are responsible to provide personal protective equipment to their employees and make sure they are properly trained. Employees need to know why they are getting this protective equipment. What is the hazard they are exposed to? How does the equipment protect them from this hazard? How does the protective equipment work? How do you clean it and store it? How and where do they replace it if it breaks?
Employers need to answer all these questions and employees need to make sure they thoroughly understand how to use any protective equipment provided to them.

If you are dealing with a work accident in North Carolina, contact our workers’ compensation lawyers in Charlotte, Asheville and Greensboro. Call the Law Offices of Lee & Smith today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-887-1965.

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