If you’re a worker who needs personal protective equipment to perform your job, you might be asking this question: Is my employer responsible for providing PPEs? In New York State, the answer is yes. But of course, there are employment law regulations that guide who and what is required.
Below, we’ll look at those requirements as explained by the top employment lawyers in Geneva, Auburn, Ithaca, and Pen Yan, NY.
But before we do, keep in mind that not following state and federal guidelines regarding PPE is a violation of employment law. If you think your employer violated your rights, you should consult an employment law attorney. Also known as a labor law attorney, those who specialize in employment law know what is legal, what’s not, and how to hold employers accountable.
Every firm is different, but the best employment lawyers offer free consultations.
What is PPE?
Not sure what your employer should be providing? Employment law attorney experts give the following examples:
- Full-body suits, coveralls, and vests
- Long-sleeved shirts and medical gowns
- Hard hats and helmets
- Steel-toed boots
- Waterproof clothing
- Ear plugs or muffs to protect one’s ears
- Goggles or safety glasses to protect the eyes
- Gloves and shoe covers
- Respirators and masks
- Harnesses to protect from falls
- In some cases, even sunscreen is considered PPE.
A recent case that made national news involves a set of workers who were racially discriminated against and denied fall protection PPE and respirators. The four plaintiffs have hired employment lawyers and are suing for unspecified damages.
In some cases, even sunscreen is considered a PPE.
A recent case that made national news involves a set of workers who were not only racially discriminated against but also denied fall protection PPE and respirtations. The four plaintiffs have hired employment lawyers and are suing for unspecified damages.
Similarly, nurses in New York have filed suit against their employers for not providing adequate PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic.
PPE Requirements in New York State
Federal (OSHA) regulations require when an employer is responsible for providing PPEs in New York State.
The regulation says: “Standards in this part requiring the employer to provide personal protective equipment (PPE), including respirators and other types of PPE, because of hazards to employees impose a separate compliance duty concerning each employee covered by the requirement.”
It goes on to say that New York employers must provide PPE to each employee required to use the PPE, and each failure to provide PPE to an employee may be considered a separate violation.
Training is also required, and PPE must be maintained. Simply providing isn’t enough, according to OSHA.
As you can see, this standard reads a bit vague. Employment attorneys Littman & Babiarz explain that because of this, many employers ignore their responsibilities regarding PPE.
“Those earning wages in Geneva, Auburn, Ithaca, and Pen Yan, NY are entitled to PPE-provided protection on their employer’s dime. If your employer is not protecting you, this violates federal safety laws and must be addressed.”
Labor law attorney Littman also notes that PPE regulations vary by industry, making it difficult for employees (and sometimes the employers themselves) to know what is required by employment law. Still, ignorance of the law is no excuse, and a seasoned labor law attorney will be able to provide guidance if you think you haven’t protected it.
Not sure if there’s been a violation? It doesn’t hurt to check!
If you are looking for a law firm in Ithaca, New York to advise you on your PPE rights, we’ve got you covered. If you are somewhere else in Central New York, we are here to help. Get in touch with us today to receive a free employment law consultation.