Last week, OSHA unveiled its final rule on Clarification of Employer Duty To Provide Personal Protective Equipment and Train Each Employee. To comply with this standard, beginning January 12, 2009, employers must provide personal protective equipment and hazards training for each employee covered by the standards. According to OSHA:
"The amendments add no new compliance obligations. Employers are not required to provide any new type of PPE or training, to provide PPE or training to any employee not already covered by the existing requirements, or to provide PPE or training in a different manner than that already required. The amendments simply clarify that the standards apply to each employee."
The Pump Handle offers a good post about why a clarification of the OSHA PPE rule was necessary. Essentially, it was needed to eliminate ambiguity and to ensure a consistent approach in OSH review decisions. The post cites an egregious violation by a Texas employer who failed to equip or train a number of undocumented workers who were hired to remove asbestos from a building. it was a flagrant violation - the employer began operating secretly at night behind locked gates after being ordered to shut down by a city building inspector. In OSHA citations, there was ambiguity about whether his conduct should result in one aggregate violation or individual violations for each employee who was exposed.