Personal Protective Equipment

What Does OSHA Look For When Inspecting Your Workplace for PPE Compliance?

What will an OSHA inspector be looking for concerning PPE in your workplace. Find out.

In 2011, the most frequently cited general industry PPE standards were:

1910.132, General requirements
1,830 citations and total of $3,217,665 in fines

1910.133, Eye and face protection
565 citations and total of $886,023 in fines

1910.138, Hand Protection
247 citations and total of $330,840 in fines

1910.135, Head protection
79 citations and total of $179,538 in fines

1910.136, Foot protection 
55 citations and total $93,696 in fines

A total of 2776 citations for these violations cost employers $4,707,752.

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The judge ruled that FLSA does not require the steelworkers to be paid for donning and doffing, but that it might deem it a principal activity, meaning workers must be paid for walking time.

Both sides appealed to the 7th Circuit, which covers Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

What the Court Said

Appellate judges noted that the DOL opinion of June 2010 was different from past opinion letters in that it was more proactive.

However, they also noted that the agency’s definition of clothes had changed with party changes in the White House—from a narrow definition during the Clinton and Obama administrations to a broader one during Bush’s tenure.
In fact, the DOL had issued an opinion in 2007 directly opposed to the 2010 interpretation.

Noting that the DOL had not provided helpful advice about how to interpret the law, judges ruled against the plaintiffs on both the donning and doffing and walking to and fro issues.

They wrote, "Protection—against sun, cold, wind, blisters, stains, insect bites, and being spotted by animals that one is hunting—is a common function of clothing."

Protective they may be, judges said, but they are also clothes.

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Stay on Top of Developments

Whether it’s PPE or the full range of other workplace safety and health topics, you’ll get all the latest news and be able to stay on top of all the latest developments 24/7 with In fact, yesterday’s report on the U.S. Steel case was posted first on

You can count on BLR’s safety experts to reported and interpret the information you need to do you job successfully and protect your employees from injuries and illness.

What’s more, this one-stop safety website is a fantastic resource for safety training materials on just about any topic you can imagine.

Training responsibilities become a snap with the website’s thousands of audio presentations, PowerPoints, prewritten safety meetings, toolbox talks, trainer’s guides, and much, much more. You’ll find training tools on more than 120 safety topics along with plain-English compliance analysis and other resources.

At a time when budget considerations are paramount, what makes more sense than an all-in-one safety training and compliance solution?

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  • Plan Builder. Select from our library of safety plans, customize them to suit your company’s needs, and assemble them into collections you can save in our personal library.

We’re pretty excited about and all of its enhancements, and we’re eager for you to experience it, too. That’s why we’ve created a complimentary site tour, available here. It takes just 5 minutes.

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