The construction industry is notoriously dangerous, and as an employer, you must do everything possible to keep your workers safe. This includes providing them with the proper safety gear. You may wonder, though, if this includes personal protective equipment. PPE may include things such as steel-toed boots, hard hats and gloves.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration regulates the requirements for employers for keeping employees safe and states that employers have some responsibility to provide PPE to employees. It is your responsibility to provide your workers with PPE in any situation where you cannot negate possible injury risks.
What you must provide
The law states you must pay for and provide your workforce with PPE and cannot expect your employees to pay for their own PPE. You must provide safety gear that includes eye protection, hard hats, steel-toed boots, other foot protection and hearing protection.
The exact PPE you must provide depends on the specific work environment. You need to provide whatever your workers need to stay safe and to prevent injuries due to normal work duties. On a construction site, that may include quite a few PPE items due to the high-risk of this type of work.
There are very few exceptions to the law that you must provide PPE. If the PPE is something the employee wants that goes beyond what she or he needs for safety on the job site, then you do not have to provide it or pay for it. In addition, if your employee damages or destroys the PPE you provide, you can make him or her replace it at his or her own cost.
Also, if your worker requires specialized PPE, such as prescription eyewear or non-specialty protective footwear, then you do not have to pay for or provide it. You also do not have to provide general clothing or gear to protect from the weather, such as raincoats or sunglasses.