OSHA issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to update Personal Protective Equipment Standards

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing to revise the personal protective equipment (PPE) sections of its general industry, shipyard employment, longshoring and marine terminals standards regarding the use of eye and face protective devices, and head and foot protection. A notice of proposed rulemaking was published in the May 17th, Federal Register and the agency is seeking public comments until July 16, 2007.

“PPE must be strong enough to protect employees from the hazards they face in the workplace. It also must be constructed and tested in accordance with sound and accepted principles that will ensure the safety of employees,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke, Jr.

These proposed revisions are a continuation of OSHA’s effort to update references to specific consensus and industry standards located throughout the agency’s standards. The proposed revisions replace the existing references to specific, out-of-date consensus standards with performance language that requires PPE to be constructed in accordance with good design standards. The proposed revisions include appendices that may be used to identify good design standards.

OSHA is also proposing to delete paragraphs in its ventilation standard as well as its welding, cutting and brazing standard that currently reference outdated PPE consensus standards. In proposing to delete these paragraphs, OSHA is continuing the process of consolidating all PPE requirements in Subpart I, and intends for all safety equipment to comply with the performance language design provisions in revised Subpart I of the general industry standards.

Interested parties are invited to submit comments on the proposed rule by July 16, 2007. They may submit comments electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, the federal eRulemaking Portal; by sending three copies to the OSHA Docket Office, Room N-2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, DC, 20210; telephone (202) 693-2350; or by FAX to (202) 693-1648. Comments must include the agency name and the Docket Number for this rulemaking, Docket No. OSHA-2007-0044. See the Federal Register notice for more information on submitting comments.