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This website publishes administrative rules on their effective dates, as designated by the adopting state agencies, colleges, and universities.

Rule 4123:1-3-03 | Personal protective equipment.


(A) Scope.

The requirements of this rule relate to the personal protective equipment listed in this paragraph, as required for employees on operations described in this rule in which there is a known hazard, recognized as injurious to the health or safety of the employee.

(1) Eye and face protection.

(2) Foot (toe) protection.

(3) Respiratory protection - includes respirators, masks, canister type masks, supplied-air helmets, etc., for protection of the respiratory system from inhalation of particulate matter, noxious gases and vapors, and oxygen deficiency. Although this rule does not cover engineered protective measures (for example, ventilation), exposure control shall be accomplished as far as is feasible by accepted engineering methods before considering or instituting use of respirators (see rule 4123:1-3-18 of the Administrative Code).

(4) Head and hair protection - includes all operations where employees are required to be present in areas where a hazard to their head exists from falling or flying objects, or from physical contact from rigid objects, or from exposures where there is a risk of injury from electrical shock or hair entanglement.

(5) Protective clothing.

(6) Hearing protection.

(7) Safety belts, body harness lifelines and lanyards.

(8) Seat belts.

(9) Safety nets.

(10) Working over or near water.

(B) Definitions.

(1) "Head protection devices" means any device that meets the American national standards institute (ANSI) Z89.1- 1997, "American National Standard for Personnel Protection-Protective Headwear for Industrial Workers- Requirements," or any revisions to that standard.

(2) "Lanyard" means a flexible line of rope, wire rope, or strap which generally has a connector at each end for connecting the body belt or body harness deceleration device to a life line or anchorage.

(3) "Lifeline" means a harness is attached component consisting of a flexible line for connection to an anchorage at one end to hang vertically (vertical lifeline), or for connection to anchorages at both ends to stretch horizontally (horizontal lifeline), and which serves as a means for connecting other components of a personal fall arrest system to the anchorage.

(4) "O.D." means optical density and refers to the light refractive characteristics of a lens.

(5) "Radiant energy" means energy that travels outward in all directions from its sources.

(6) "Respiratory devices" means:

(a) "Air-purifying respirator" means a respirator with an air-purifying filter, cartridge, or canister that removes specific air contaminants by passing ambient air through the air-purifying element.

(b) Assigned protection factor (APF) means the workplace level of respiratory protection that a respirator or class of respirators is expected to provide to employees when the employer implements a continuing, effective respiratory protection program as specified by this rule.

(c) Atmosphere-supplying respirator means a respirator that supplies the respirator user with breathing air from a source independent of the ambient atmosphere, and includes supplied-air respirators (SARs) and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) units.

(d) Canister or cartridge means a container with a filter, sorbent, or catalyst, or combination of these items, which removes specific contaminants from the air passed through the container.

(e) Demand respirator means an atmosphere-supplying respirator that admits breathing air to the facepiece only when a negative pressure is created inside the facepiece by inhalation.

(f) Escape-only respirator means a respirator intended to be used only for emergency exit.

(g) Filter or air purifying element means a component used in respirators to remove solid or liquid aerosols from the inspired air.

(h) Filtering facepiece (dust mask) means a negative pressure particulate respirator with a filter as an integral part of the facepiece or with the entire facepiece composed of the filtering medium.

(i) Positive pressure respirator means a respirator in which the pressure inside the respiratory inlet covering exceeds the ambient air pressure outside the respirator.

(j) Powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) means an air-purifying respirator that uses a blower to force the ambient air through air-purifying elements to the inlet covering.

(k) Supplied-air respirator (SAR) or airline respirator means an atmosphere-supplying respirator for which the source of breathing air is not designed to be carried by the user.

(l) "Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA)" means a an atmosphere-supplying respirator for which the breathing air source is designed to be carried by the user.

(7) "Body belt" means a strap with means both for securing it about the waist and for attaching it to a lanyard, lifeline, or deceleration device.

(8) "Body harness" means straps which may be secured about the employee in a manner that will distribute the fall arrest forces over at least the thighs, pelvis, waist, chest and shoulders with means for attaching it to other components of a personal fall arrest system.

(C) Specific requirements of general application.

(1) Personal protective equipment furnished by the employer shall be issued to the employee in sanitary and proper condition so that it will effectively protect against the hazard involved.

(2) Where employees provide their own protective equipment, such equipment shall give equal or greater protection than that furnished by the employer.

(D) Eye and face protection.

(1) Responsibility.

The employer shall provide eye protection for all employees engaged in the operations listed in paragraph (D)(2) of this rule and exposed to an eye hazard. Eye protection shall also be provided for any other employees required to work in the immediate area and who are exposed to the hazards of the operations listed. It shall be the responsibility of the employee to use the eye protection provided by the employer (see sections 4101.12 and 4101.13 of the Revised Code). (See also appendix to paragraph (D) of this rule for "Eye and Face Protector Selection Guide".)

(2) Operations requiring eye protection.

(a) Eye protection shall be provided to employees performing the following operations:

(i) When using hand tools or mechanical equipment to cut, chip, drill, clean, buff, grind, polish, shape, or surface masonry, plaster, stone, plastics, or other hardened substances. This also covers demolition work where the materials listed are part of the operation;

(ii) Where acids, sand or shot blast are used in building cleaning operations;

(iii) Welding or cutting operations involving the use of gas flames or electric arc. For all electric welding operations the employer shall provide suitable helmets, hoods, or hand shields. (See appendix to this rule);

(iv) Where portland cement or similar dust-producing material is taken from an elevated bin, hopper, or similar structure by a chute;

(v) All spray paint operations where the employee's eyes are exposed to paint mist in the atmosphere;

(vi) All sand or shot blast operations where the employee's eyes are exposed to the blasting;

(vii) In the handling of molten metal, hot tars, hot pitch, hot asphalt, hot plastic, or similar hot substances;

(viii) Dressing grinding wheels;

(ix) Cleaning operations where wire wheels are used;

(x) In handling injurious acids, alkalis, or other chemicals;

(xi) When working in close proximity to a laser beam in excess of five milliwatts;

(xii) Cutting, drilling, turning, planing, jointing, and sanding of wood with power tools;

(xiii) Operations of portable explosive-actuated fastening tools and portable pneumatically powered fasteners;

(xiv) Operations requiring the use of compressed air for cleaning purposes.

(b) This rule does not apply where a shield or exhaust equipment provides adequate eye protection for employees otherwise exposed to the hazards covered in paragraphs (D)(2)(a)(i) to (D)(2)(a)(xiv) of this rule.

(3) Face shields.

Face shields may be used only in conjunction with safety glasses and/or goggles where additional protection for the face is necessary.

(4) Material requirements for eye and face protection shall meet ANSI Z87.1 - 1968 or any revisions to that standard.

(5) Laser protection.

The employer shall provide laser safety goggles which will protect the employee from direct or reflected laser light equal to or greater than 0.005 watts (five milliwatts) per square centimeter. The laser safety goggles shall provide protection for the specific wavelength of the laser and be of optical density (O.D.) adequate for the energy involved. Table 3-3 lists the maximum power or energy density for which adequate protection is afforded by glasses of optical densities from five through eight. Output levels falling between lines in this table shall require the higher density.

(a) Labeling of eye protection.

All protective goggles shall bear a label identifying the following data:

(i) The laser wavelength for which use is intended;

(ii) The optical density of those wavelengths;

(iii) The visible light transmission.

(b) Labeling of laser equipment.

The employer shall furnish equipment provided with labels containing the following minimum information for continuous-wave (cw) lasers:

(i) Wavelength or wavelength range;

(ii) Emergent beam size;

(iii) Beam divergence;

(iv) Maximum average power output;

(v) Maximum emergency beam irradiance;

(vi) Manufacturer's name and address;

(vii) Product identification number.

(c) Posting.

The employer shall post standard laser warning placard notices in prominent locations in which lasers are being operated. (For examples see appendix to this rule.)

(d) Beam shutters or caps shall be utilized, or the laser turned off, when laser transmission is not actually required. When the laser is left unattended for a substantial period of time, such as during lunch hour, overnight or at change of shifts, the laser shall be turned off.

(e) Atmospheric conditions.

When it is raining or snowing, or when there is dust or fog in the air, the operation of laser systems shall be prohibited where practicable; in any event, employees shall be kept out of range of the area of source and target during such weather conditions.

(E) Foot (toe) protection.

Foot protection shall be worn by the employee where an employee is exposed to machinery or equipment that represents a foot hazard or where an employee is handling material which presents a foot hazard. Safety-toe footwear for employees shall meet the requirements and specifications in American National Standard for Men's Safety-Toe Footwear, Z41.1-1967 or any revisions of that standard.

(F) Respiratory equipment.

(1) The employer shall furnish approved respiratory equipment where there are air contaminants as defined in paragraph (B)(1) of rule 4123:1-3-01 of the Administrative Code. It shall be the responsibility of the employee to use the respirator or respiratory equipment provided by the employer, guard it against damage and report any malfunction to the employer (see sections 4101.12 and 4101.13 of the Revised Code). Note: See appendix to this rule for basic guides for the selection of respirators.

(2) This requirement does not apply where an effective exhaust system or other means of equal or greater protection has been provided.

(G) Head and hair protection.

(1) Responsibility.

(a) Employer.

(i) Whenever employees are required to be present in areas where the potential hazard mentioned in paragraph (A)(4) of this rule are present, employers shall provide them with head protection devices or hair enclosures.

Where required, head protection shall meet the requirements of ANSI Z89.1 - 1969 or any revisions to that standard.

(ii) When required, employers shall provide accessories designed for use with protective headgear and which are suitable for their intended purpose.

(iii) Protective helmets and bump caps, or parts thereof, and hair enclosures shall be sanitized before reissue and damaged parts of protective headgear shall be replaced.

(b) Employees.

Employees shall not alter any head or hair protective equipment that lessens its effectiveness, and shall use such equipment in accordance with instructions and training received.

(2) Hair enclosures.

(a) A hat, cap, or net shall be worn where there is danger of hair entanglement in moving parts of machinery or equipment, or where there is exposure to means of ignition. It shall be designed to enclose all loose hair and be adjustable to accommodate all head sizes. Material used for a hair enclosure shall be durable, fast-dyed, nonirritating to the skin and capable of withstanding frequent cleaning. It shall not be reissued from one employee to another unless it has been thoroughly sanitized.

(b) Hair enclosures used in areas where there is exposure to sparks, hot or molten metals, or ignition from heat, flames, or chemical reaction shall be made of materials that are nonburning or flame retardant and do not melt.

(H) Protective clothing.

(1) When handling chemicals injurious to the skin.

The employer shall provide rubber or plastic gloves, sleeves and aprons for all operations involving the handling of injurious concentrations of acids, alkalis, epoxy or similar substances.

(2) Welding, cutting, brazing, and molten metal exposures.

(a) All employees exposed to the hazards created by welding, cutting, brazing, or molten metal operations shall be protected by personal protective equipment.

(b) Specified protective clothing.

(i) The employer shall provide durable flame-resistant gloves for all welders and oxygen cutters. Insulated linings shall be provided when the employee is exposed to high radiant energy.

(ii) The employer shall provide cape sleeves or shoulder covers with bibs made of leather or other flame-resistant materials for employees required to perform overhead welding or cutting operations.

(iii) Clothing treated with nondurable flame-retardant materials shall be treated after each wetting or cleaning.

(3) When working by hand on electrical circuits protector gloves shall be worn over insulating gloves, except as follows:

(a) Unless deenergized and grounded, the employer shall provide electricians' rubber gloves with protectors, or other means of insulating employees from ground or current of opposite polarity when working on circuits in excess of two hundred fifty volts.

(b) Protector gloves need not be used with Class 0 gloves, under limited use conditions, when small equipment and parts manipulation necessitate unusually high finger dexterity.

(c) If the voltage does not exceed two hundred fifty volts, ac, or three hundred seventy-five volts, dc, protector gloves need not be used with Class 00 gloves, under limited-use conditions, when small equipment and parts manipulation necessitate unusually high finger dexterity.

(d) Any other class of glove may be used without protector gloves, under limited-use conditions, when small equipment and parts manipulation necessitate unusually high finger dexterity but only if the employer can demonstrate that the possibility of physical damage to the gloves is small and if the class of glove is one class higher than that required for the voltage involved.

(e) Insulating gloves that have been used without protector gloves may not be reused until they have been tested under the provisions of "ASTM F496-14a Standard Specification for In-Service Care of Insulating Gloves and Sleeves."

(4) When handling hot asphaltic materials.

The employer shall provide suitable foot protection to prevent burns when employees are required to handle hot asphaltic materials.

(I) Hearing protection.

Employees exposed to continuous noise levels of ninety or more decibels, A-scale (dBA) slow response shall be provided with approved ear protection. If ear plugs that require fitting are provided, they shall be fitted to the individual employee by a competent person.

(J) Body belts, harness lifelines and lanyards.

(1) Lifelines, body belts or harnesses and lanyards shall be provided by the employer, and it shall be the responsibility of the employee to wear such equipment when exposed to hazards of falling where the operation being performed is more than six feet above ground or above a floor or platform, except as otherwise specified in this chapter, and when required to work on stored material in silos, hoppers, tanks, and similar storage areas. Lifelines and body belts or harnesses shall be securely fastened to the structure and shall sustain a static load of no less than three thousand pounds.

(2) Lifelines, body belts or harnesses and lanyards shall be used only for employee safeguarding. Any lifeline, body belt, safety harness, or lanyard actually subjected to in-service loading, as distinguished from static load testing, shall be removed from service and shall not be used again for employee safeguarding until inspected and determined by an authorized person to be undamaged and suitable for reuse.

(3) Lifelines used on rock-scaling operations, or in areas where the lifeline may be subjected to cutting or abrasion, shall be a minimum seven-eighths-inch wire core manila rope or equivalent. For all other lifeline applications, a minimum of three-fourths-inch manila rope or equivalent shall be provided.

(4) Body belt or harness lanyard shall be a minimum of one-half-inch nylon, or equivalent, with a maximum length to provide for a fall of no more than six feet. The lanyard shall have a breaking strength of no less than three thousand pounds.

(5) All body belt or harness and lanyard hardware shall be drop forged or pressed steel, cadmium plated. Surface shall be smooth and free from sharp edges.

(6) All body belt or harness and lanyard hardware shall be capable of withstanding a tensile loading of three thousand pounds without cracking, breaking, or becoming permanently deformed.

(7) Safety nets may be used in lieu of lifelines and safety belts or harnesses.

(K) Seat belts.

(1) Seat belts shall be provided for crawler-type tractors, bulldozers, rubber-tired earth-moving equipment, off-highway trucks and graders except on equipment that is designed for standup operations only or that has no rollover protective structure.

(2) Seat belts and anchorages meeting the requirements of 49 CFR Part 571 (department of transportation, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) shall be installed in all motor vehicles.

(L) Safety nets.

(1) Safety nets shall be provided when workplaces are more than twenty-five feet above the ground, water, or other surface where the use of ladders, scaffolds, catch platforms, temporary floors, safety lines or safety belts or harnesses is impractical.

(2) Where safety net protection is required by this rule operations shall not be undertaken until the net is in place and has been tested.

(3) Safety nets shall extend eight feet beyond the edge of the work surface where employees are exposed and shall be installed as close under the work surface as practical but in no case more than twenty-five feet below such work surface. Safety nets shall be hung with sufficient clearance to prevent user's contact with the surfaces or structures below. Such clearances shall be determined by impact load testing.

(4) The mesh size of safety nets shall not exceed six inches. All new safety nets shall meet accepted performance standards of seventeen thousand five hundred foot-pounds minimum impact resistance as determined and certified by the manufacturer, and shall bear a label of proof test. Edge ropes shall provide a minimum breaking strength of five thousand pounds.

(5) Forged steel safety hooks or shackles shall be used to fasten the safety net to its supports. Attachment of safety nets to the working platform is prohibited.

(6) Connections between safety net panels shall maintain the full strength of the safety net.

(M) Working over or near water.

(1) Where employees are working over or near water, and where the depth or current of the water creates a danger of drowning, the employer shall provide U.S. coast guard-approved life jackets or buoyant work vests for each employee.

(2) Ring buoys with no less than ninety feet of line attached shall be provided and readily available for emergency rescue operations. Distance between ring buoys shall not exceed two hundred feet.

(3) At least one lifesaving skiff shall be immediately available at locations where employees are working over or adjacent to water.

(4) In cribs and cofferdams where employees are exposed to danger of falling inside of the enclosure containing water, a life raft shall be provided.

(N) Employee's responsibility.

It shall be the responsibility of the employee to properly use the equipment provided by the employer as required in this rule (See also sections 4101.12 and 4101.13 of the Revised Code).

View Appendix

Supplemental Information

Authorized By: 4121.12, 4121.121, 4121.13, Const. Art. II, Sec. 35
Amplifies: 4121.47
Five Year Review Date: 1/1/2025
Prior Effective Dates: 4/1/1968, 11/1/1979, 4/1/1999, 1/1/2011