What You Need to Know About PPE

Published on March 28, 2019 by Brenda Forton

Personal Protection Equipment


Personal Protection Equipment, often referred to as “PPE” is equipment worn to minimize exposure to a variety of hazards. Examples of PPE include gloves, foot, and eye protection, protective hearing protection (earplugs, muffs), hard hats and respirators.

  • Eye and Face Protection
    Safety glasses or face shields are worn any time work operations can cause foreign objects to get in the eye. For example, during welding, cutting, grinding, nailing (or when working with concrete and/or harmful chemicals or when exposed to flying particles). Wear when exposed to any electrical hazards, including working on energized electrical systems.
  • Eye and face protectors
    Select based on anticipated hazards.
  • Foot Protection
    Construction workers should wear work shoes or boots with slip-resistant and puncture-resistant soles. Safety-toed footwear is worn to prevent crushed toes when working around heavy equipment or falling objects.
  • Hand Protection
    Gloves should fit snugly. Workers should wear the right gloves for the job (examples: heavy-duty rubber gloves for concrete work; welding gloves for welding; insulated gloves and sleeves when exposed to electrical hazards).
  • Head Protection
    Wear hard hats where there is a potential for objects falling from above, bumps to the head from fixed objects, or of accidental head contact with electrical hazards.
  • Hard hats
    Routinely inspect them for dents, cracks or deterioration; replace after a heavy blow or electrical shock; maintain in good condition.
  • Hearing Protection
    Use earplugs/earmuffs in high noise work areas where chainsaws or heavy equipment are used; clean or replace earplugs regularly.


OSHA requires employers to conduct an assessment of their workplace to determine what PPE is required for their employees, such as specialized clothing, headgear or eyewear. The standards generally require employers to pay for mandated PPE, although some exceptions apply.


Most employers purchase essential PPE for employees to use. When necessary employers can request an employee to pay for lost or damaged equipment, but OSHA guidelines prevent them from charging employees for safety and protective gear like gloves and goggles. They cannot force an employee to pay, only request. There is a difference between forcing and requesting. If an employee is not willing to honor the employers’ request to pay for lost or damaged PPE, the employer must decide the consequences, including termination of employment.

If an employee accidentally damages or breaks company-owned equipment, he/she cannot be required to pay for its replacement. Accidents happen and whatever damage should be treated as a business expense.


Yes, OSHA rules allow employees to purchase their own protective gear, and the employer is not required to reimburse the employee. The employer is still responsible to ensure that all PPE used on the job meets OSHA requirements as well as ensure that it is worn properly. If the employee-owned PPE becomes damaged or the employee no longer wishes to use his own PPE, the employer must provide it.


Consider taking online safety training with courses such as Construction Health and Safety Compliance, Construction Safety and 29 CFR 1926 Stairways and Ladders. Course selections may vary from state to state as well as state required education standards. Company training discounts on state-approved online safety training for your entire crew is available 24/7 at www.licensetobuild.com.

The Builders License Training Institute is a division of Certified Training Institute which offers online licensing and renewal training for industries such as  Builders, Architects, Engineering, Pesticide, Plumbing, and Real Estate.

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