OSHA: Employers Must Pay for Most Personal Protective Equipment

Both federal and state OSHA impose rules requiring employees to wear "personal protective equipment" such as work boots, safety goggles, etc. Federal OSHA just issued a final regulation requiring employers to pay for such equipment in most circumstances. The obligation is limited to equipment required for compliance with OSHA standards.

According to OSHA's preface to the regulation:
The items excepted from payment by this rule are: Non-specialty safety-toe protective footwear (including steel-toe shoes or steel-toe boots) and non-specialty prescription safety eyewear, that is allowed by the employer to be worn off the job-site; Shoes or boots with built-in metatarsal protection that the employee has requested to use instead of the employer-provided detachable metatarsal guards; Logging boots required by 1910.266(d)(1)(v); Everyday work clothing; or ordinary clothing, skin creams, or other items used solely for protection from the weather.

For a long, detailed discussion and the regulation itself, please see here.