Every workplace has the potential to be dangerous. That’s why the Occupational Safety and Health Organization, or OSHA, requires that employers take steps to protect you from workplace hazards.
As a worker, you should know that employers are obligated to provide you with personal protective equipment whenever it is necessary. Workers are expected to wear that PPE and to attend training sessions on how to wear it, so that they can stay safer.
What are an employer’s obligations to workers?
Employers are obligated to perform a hazard assessment of the workplace. That hazard assessment lets them know what kinds of hazards are present and the kinds of personal protective equipment that their employees may need.
After identifying the kinds of PPE that are needed, the employer should then train employees in how to care for that PPE and how to use it appropriately in the workplace. It is the employer’s duty to replace damaged or worn PPE as well as to maintain it.
Employers also have to review the use of PPE and determine if it is effective or needs to be updated.
What are a worker’s obligations toward safety in the workplace?
Workers are required to properly wear any PPE that they are provided in the workplace. Additionally, they are expected to attend and participate in training sessions involving any of the PPE that they are expected to wear.
Employees can be asked to maintain, clean and care for their PPE. They are also expected to report if any of the PPE needs to be replaced or repaired.
As of 2008, employers are required to pay for PPE that complies with OSHA standards. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but it does make it clear that employers cannot require workers to provide their own PPE. Some kinds of PPE that an employer should pay for include:
· Face shields
· Hard hats
· Welding PPE
If you are every confused about what your employer should be providing you, or if you are hurt because they did not provide the appropriate PPE, speak out. Your attorney may be able to help you seek workers’ compensation and learn more about your rights.