PPE, or personal protective equipment, comes in many forms and there are standards in place to ensure a worker’s PPE provides the maximum possible protection. In fact, many industries and employers are required to provide their employees with PPE, but does that mean they are required to pay for PPE as well? The short answer to that question is “well, now, that depends…”
Let’s take a quick look at what our answer depends on. Paying for PPE depends on:
- Where you live
- The kind of industry you work in, and
- The PPE in question
Where You Live
You may be wondering why it’s important to know where you live regarding who’s going to pay for your PPE. This is because different locations have different standards. For example, paying for PPE in Canada varies from province to province; some provide PPE at no cost to their employees, others leave it up to employment contracts and unions.
The United States, on the other hand, has standards that require employers to pay for their employees’ PPE. Yet, this does not mean employers have to pay for every single piece of PPE. Protective footgear or prescription safety glasses are personalized to the wearer and thus cannot be standardized for risk of creating a hazard.
Different industries will require different PPE. For example, a construction company will provide a range of PPE, including hard hats, gloves, helmets, safety glasses (generic), safety vests, and fall protection equipment. A healthcare facility, however, may only need to provide as little as a face mask and latex gloves to as much as surgical gowns, gloves, face shields, biohazard suits, and respirators.
Our talk on the specific industry relates to the specific equipment needed. As we mentioned, hospitals are going to require different PPE than construction sites. While your employer may provide most of what you’ll need, equipment such as proper shoes, specific work glasses, or work clothing outside of a standard uniform is up to the employee to provide.
Always check with your employer about any PPE required for your job and what they will cover. In some cases, you may have to pay for it, but if that’s the case they should tell you the correct type of equipment to purchase. Again, it just all depends on where you are, who you work for, and what gear you need.
The Hard Hat Training series has a lot of information about PPE and other topics, so be sure to check out our site for more information. Good luck and stay safe!