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OSHA wants to revise PPE fit requirements for construction workers

Photo: Missouri Department of Transportation Flickr

Washington — The “failure” of standard-sized personal protective equipment to fit smaller construction workers – especially women – has prompted OSHA to try to align the industry’s PPE fit requirements with other industries’ standards.

According to a proposed rule, OSHA’s construction standards – unlike its general industry and maritime PPE standards – don’t require PPE to fit the wearer. This, as well as “problems with access to properly fitting PPE, have long been safety and health concerns in the construction industry,” the agency says in a July 19 press release. “The proposed rule clarifies the existing requirement, and OSHA does not expect the change will increase employers’ costs or compliance burdens.

“PPE must fit properly to provide adequate protection to employees. Improperly fitting PPE may fail to provide any protection to an employee, present additional hazards or discourage employees from using such equipment in the workplace.”

The deadline to submit comments and hearing requests is Sept. 18.

“If personal protective equipment does not fit properly, an employee may be unprotected or dangerously exposed to hazards and face tragic consequences,” OSHA administrator Doug Parker said in the release. “We look forward to hearing from stakeholders on this important issue as we work together to ensure that construction workers of all genders and sizes are fitted properly with safety gear.”

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