By Christy J. Clark, 2/5/2020
Personal Protective Equipment referred to as “PPE”, is equipment worn to minimize exposure to a variety of hazards. PPE includes such items as gloves, foot and eye protection, protective hearing devices (earplugs, muffs), hard hats, respirators and full body suits. Many workers ask about steel toed shoes and boots. Employers do not have to pay for steel toed shoes or boots because they are worn off the worksite.
PPE is so important because it protects the user against physical harm or hazards that the workplace environment may present. It is important because it exists as a preventative measure for industries that are known to be more hazardous, like manufacturing, construction and industrial.
All PPE should be maintained in a clean and reliable fashion. It should fit comfortably so that the worker is safely covered and not exposed. PPE equipment should be replaced as necessary.
If the employer has to provide the PPE, they generally must also pay for it. However, if an employer is only required to ensure that workers use PPE, they don't have to pay for the PPE. In unionized workplaces, employers and the union will often cover who pays for PPE in collective agreements.