BETHESDA, MD -- OSHA recently published a new final rule requiring employers to provide personal protective equipment used to comply with OSHA's standards for all employees. Employees are responsible only for the costs of everyday clothing, footwear, and safety eyewear.

NECA submitted comments to OSHA on the proposed revisions in 2004, stating employers shouldn’t provide “tools of the trade.” The new rule states that employers are responsible for most personal protective equipment specified in the NFPA 70E standard for electrical work, in addition to basic worksite personal protective equipment.

“Safety is of paramount importance to NECA and our electrical contractor members,” said NECA CEO John Grau. “Electrical construction has always required comprehensive and methodical use of specialized personal protective equipment, and we appreciate OSHA’s recognition of this fact. I am certain that NECA-member contractors will make every attempt to satisfy the new OSHA rules.”

“Job site safety is essential to worker protection and productivity,” said NECA member Dick Nogleberg, president of Placer Electric, Sacramento, Calif. “Electrical contractors require workers to use the correct PPE and follow safety policies to keep a construction project on track, as well as for their own safety. Nothing hurts a project more than an injury or accident, so we do everything we can to prevent them.” Nogleberg already provides all levels of NFPA 70E-specified PPE to his workers and says that the OSHA rule will help him justify the costs to general contractors and owners.

The new rule has an enforcement deadline of May 15, 2008, six months from the date of publication to allow employers time to change their existing PPE payment policies to accommodate the final rule.