U.S. Department of Labor Proposes New Regulations for PPE

  • Editorial Team
  • News
  • 24 July 2023

The U.S. Department of Labor has recently announced a notification of proposed regulations aimed at clarifying and improving the personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements within the construction industry. The proposed amendment intends to address concerns regarding the fitting of PPE for individual employees, ensuring their adequate protection from workplace risks. This move comes as part of the broader efforts by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to safeguard the workers in the construction sector, particularly from falls, which are a leading cause of workplace fatalities.

Bridging the Gap in PPE Fitting Standards

The existing standard for PPE in the construction industry lacks explicit indications that the equipment must adequately fit each employee. This stands in contrast to the general industrial and maritime requirements set forth by OSHA. The proposed amendment seeks to rectify this gap and make it clear that every employee’s PPE must fit them appropriately, thereby improving their protection against any potential workplace hazards.

Addressing Long-Standing Safety Concerns

For years, the construction industry has faced long-standing issues related to access to properly fitting PPE, especially for physically smaller workers and some women. This discrepancy has raised significant safety and health concerns. Now, by introducing the proposed rule, OSHA aims to provide a clear and standardized obligation for the correct fit of PPE, ensuring all the workers’ safety across all genders and sizes. The goal is to eliminate potential risks arising from ill-fitting equipment and reduce workplace accidents and injuries.

Streamlining Equipment Selection with New ANSI Standard

In conjunction with the proposed regulations, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is set to implement a new standard on August 1, 2023. This standard will eliminate “leading-edge” designations on the new self-retracting fall arrest equipment and simplify equipment category selection. Through streamlining the process of selecting appropriate fall-arrest equipment, ANSI is hoping to improve workplace safety for construction workers while also complementing OSHA’s efforts in preventing falls and other heavy equipment related accidents.