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Who pays for safety gear?

November 17, 2010

Businesses, not their employees, must purchase whatever safety gear—also called personal protective equipment or PPE—that the employee would not otherwise wear on the street, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has ruled.


While small areas of debate remain, the list includes safety glasses, face shields and chemically resistant gloves (rubber, nitrile and latex). Hearing protection should be offered in the form of the small foam plugs that form to the ear. Respirators and dust masks may be required, but only after a formal assessment has been performed by a skilled professional.


Safety shoes, said Phil Troy of CATA allied member ComplyNet, are one category where negotiation is possible. "Dealers can pay for the shoes, offer reimbursement when presented with a paid receipt, offer a flat dollar amount, split the cost or even require affected employees to pay for their own safety shoes," Troy said.


Most experts say all service department and body shop workers should wear shoes with slip-resistant shoes, and those who expose their feet to crushing hazards should wear shoes with crush-resistant toes.


Troy said ComplyNet offers free safety gear assessments. Call 847-655-2907.