The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has issued a final rule to revise the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) sections of its general industry standards on the requirements for eye- and face-protective devices, head protection, and foot protection.

OSHA is updating the references in its regulations to recognize the more recent editions of the applicable national consensus standards. OSHA is also amending the provision that requires safety shoes to comply with a specific American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard, as well as, a provision that requires filter lenses and plates in eye-protective equipment to meet a test for transmission of radiant energy specified by another ANSI standard.

In amending these regulations, OSHA will require the safety equipment to comply with the applicable PPE design provisions. These revisions are a continuation of OSHA’s effort to update or remove references to specific consensus and industry standards located throughout its standards.

According to OSHA, this final rule neither reduces employee protection nor alters an employer’s obligations under the existing standard. Employers will be able to continue using the same equipment they have been using to meet their compliance obligation under the existing standards’ design-criteria requirements. The final rule provides employers with additional options for meeting the design-criteria requirement.

Therefore, this final rule does not alter the substantive protection that must be provided to employees and the compliance burdens on employers. This final rule becomes effective on October 9, 2009. You can read more about these changes in thisRules and Regulations section of the Federal Register.