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OSHA adds teeth to protective equipment standards

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in Employment Law,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a new rule that significantly raises the stakes for employers that fail to provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees or give them the necessary training in hazardous materials handling.

Now for every PPE or training violation OSHA spots, employers can expect to pay a fine based on each and every affected employee. So for an employer with 100 OSHA-covered employees, what used to be a $5,000 fine just turned into a $500,000 fine.

OSHA’s final rule on Clarification of Employers’ Duty to Provide Personal Protective Equipment and Train Each Employee revises OSHA standards to clarify that, for employers to be in compliance, they must provide PPE and hazards training for each employee covered by the standards.

Each employee not protected may be considered a separate violation—and OSHA will assess penalties accordingly.

The final rule amendments do not add new compliance obligations. Employers are not required to provide new kinds of PPE or hazards training or use a different approach than what is already required. Additionally, employers are not required to provide PPE or training to employees not already covered by existing requirements.

“By making this change, those few employers who egregiously violate the OSHA PPE standard can be held fully accountable for violations affecting each employee who is not provided proper PPE,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Thomas M. Stohler.

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