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

Rule 4123:1-5-17 | Personal protective equipment.


(A) Reserved.

(B) Reserved.

(C) Specifications of general application.

(1) Personal protective equipment furnished by the employer will 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 has to give equal or greater protection than that furnished by the employer.

(D) Eye and face protection.

(1) Responsibility.

The employer will 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 will also be provided for any other employees in the immediate area and who are exposed to the hazards of the operations listed. It is the responsibility of the employee to use the eye protection provided by the employer (see appendix to this rule for eye and face protector selection guide).

(2) Operations requiring eye protection.

(a) Eye protection will 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, brick, concrete, plaster, stone, plastics, or other hardened substances. This also covers demolition work where the material listed are part of the operation;

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

(iii) Welding, brazing, soldering, or cutting operations involving the use of gas flames or electric arc. (See appendix to this rule);

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

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

(vi) All sand, or shot, or other abrasive blast operations where the operator's eyes are exposed to the blasting agent;

(vii) The opening or closing of the tap holes of cupolas or melting furnaces;

(viii) Exposure to molten metal, molten glass, and molten plastic;

(ix) Metal and plastic chipping, cutting, cleaning, grinding, conditioning, or machining where there is danger of flying particles;

(x) Dressing grinding wheels;

(xi) Cleaning operations where wire wheels are used;

(xii) Handling injurious acids, alkalis, or other chemicals;

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

(xiv) Operating portable powder-actuated, pneumatically powered, and other powered fastening tools;

(xv) Operations involving the use of compressed air;

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

(xvii) Felling or pruning trees or cutting underbrush.

(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)(xvii) of this rule.

(3) Face shields.

(a) Face shields are secondary protection and will be used only in conjunction with primary protection, such as safety goggles or spectacles.

(b) Face shields, in addition to eye protection, will be provided where danger to the face exists, such as in the following operations:

(i) Welding operations;

(ii) All sand, or shot, or abrasive blast operations;

(iii) Cleaning operations where wire wheels are used;

(iv) Metal , wood and/or plastic chipping, cutting, cleaning, grinding, conditioning, or machining where there is danger of flying particles;

(v) The handling of molten metal, molten glass, and molten plastic;

(vi) The handling of injurious acids, alkalis, or other chemicals.

(4) Material specifications for eye and face protection shall meet the most current edition of ANSI Z87.1.

(E) Foot (toe) protection.

Foot protection will be worn by the employee where an employee is exposed to machinery or equipment that presents a foot hazard or where an employee is handling material which presents a foot hazard.

(F) Respiratory protection.

(1) Where there are air contaminants as defined in rule 4123:1-5-01 of the Administrative Code, the employer will provide respiratory protection equipment approved for the hazard. It is 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. Note: See appendix to this rule for basic guides for the selection of respirators.

(2) This specification does not apply where an effective exhaust system (see rule 4123:1-5-18 of the Administrative Code) or other means of equal or greater protection have been provided.

(G) Head and hair protection.

(1) Responsibility.

(a) Employer.

(i) Whenever employees are present where a potential hazard to their head exists from falling or flying objects, or from physical contact with rigid objects, or from exposures where there is a risk of injury from electric shock, employers will provide employees with suitable protective head protection.

This head protection will meet the specifications of the most current edition of ANSI Z89.1.

(ii) When head protection is needed employers will provide accessories designed for use with the head protection.

(iii) Damaged parts of protective head protection will be replaced. Protective helmets and bump caps or parts thereof and hair enclosures will be sanitized before reissue.

(b) Employees.

Employees will not alter any head or hair protective equipment and will use such equipment in accordance with instructions and training received.

(c) Hair enclosures.

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

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

(H) Hearing protection.

Employees exposed to continuous noise levels of ninety or more decibels (90 dBA slow response) will be provided with approved hearing protection. (If variations in noise level involve maxima at intervals of one second or less, the noise is considered continuous.) If hearing protection that needs fitting is provided, it will be fitted to the individual employees by a competent person.

(I) Protection of the body and exposed parts and other protective equipment.

(1) All persons who work in such a manner that their clothing may become wet with acids caustics or other injurious liquids will be provided with such gloves, aprons, coats, jackets, sleeves, or other garments made of rubber, or other materials impervious to such liquids as are needed to keep their clothing dry. Aprons will extend well below the top of boots to prevent such liquid from splashing into the boots. Provision of dry clean cotton clothing along with rubber shoes or short boots and an apron impervious to such liquids will be considered a satisfactory substitute where small parts are cleaned, plated, or acid-dipped in open tanks and rapid work is required.

(2) Facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body will be provided within the work area, where employees are exposed to injurious corrosive materials. Where plumbing is not available and where storage batteries of the enclosed type with explosion-proof vents are serviced exclusively, portable, self-contained eyewash equipment may be provided in lieu of the quick drenching or flushing facilities. Where portable self-contained eyewash equipment is used in lieu of drenching or flushing facilities, it will be capable of delivering to the eye no less than 1.5 liters (0.4 gallons) per minute for a minimum of fifteen minutes.

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

All employees exposed to the hazards created by welding, cutting, brazing, or molten metal operations will be protected by protective clothing. This includes:

(a) Flameproof gauntlet gloves.

(b) Flameproof aprons made of leather, or other material which provides equivalent protection.

(c) Exterior clothing made of wool, cotton, or other material chemically treated to reduce combustibility.

(d) Capes or shoulder covers made of leather or other material which provides equivalent protection.

(e) Protection for the ears from the overhead welding and cutting or welding and cutting in extremely confined spaces.

(4) Working by hand on energized circuits.

When an employee works on, or in proximity to, energized lines, the employer will provide and the employee will use protective equipment approved for the hazards involved.

(5) Climbers.

(a) Where employees climb poles or trees, the employer will provide climbers, the appropriate gaffs (spurs). Pole gaffs will measure at least one and seven-sixteenth inches (36.5 mm) on the underside. Tree gaffs will measure no more than three and one-half inches (88.9 mm) nor less than two and one-fourth inches (57.2 mm) on the underside.

(b) Storage.

Storage facilities will be provided so that the sharp points of the climber gaffs will not cause damage to other equipment or cause injury to employees.

(6) Safety belts, harness, lifelines and lanyards.

(a) Lifelines, safety belts or harnesses and lanyards will be provided by the employer, and it is the responsibility of the employee to wear such equipment when exposed to hazards of falling where the operation being performed is more than four feet above the ground or above a floor or platform, except as otherwise specified in this chapter, and when working on stored material in silos, hoppers, tanks, and similar storage areas. Lanyards and vertical lifelines will have a minimum breaking strength of five thousand pounds. Anchorage used for attachment of personal fall arrest equipment will be independent of any anchorage being used to support or suspend platforms and capable of supporting at least five thousand pounds per employee attached.

(b) Where the lifeline may be subjected to cutting or abrasion, a minimum seven-eighths-inch wire core manila rope, or equivalent, will be provided. For all other lifeline applications, a minimum of three-fourths-inch manila rope, or equivalent, will be provided.

(c) Safety belt, harness, or strap lanyards will 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 will have a breaking strength of no less than five thousand pounds.

(d) All safety belt, harness, or strap and lanyard hardware will be drop-forged or pressed steel, cadmium plated. Surface will be smooth and free from sharp edges.

(e) All safety belt, harness, or strap and lanyard hardware will be capable of withstanding a tensile loading of five thousand pounds without cracking, breaking, or becoming permanently deformed.

(7) Safety nets.

(a) Safety nets will 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 is impractical.

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

(c) Nets will extend outward from the outermost projection of the work surface in accordance with table 17-1 to this rule and will be installed as close under the work surface as practical but in no case more than thirty feet below such work surface with the exception of bridge construction where only one level of nets is needed. Nets will be hung with sufficient clearance to prevent the falling employee's contact with the surface or structures below. Such clearance will be determined by impact load testing.

Table 17-1

Vertical distance from working level to horizontal plane of the net.Minimum required horizontal distance of net from the edge of the working surface.
Up to five feeteight feet
More than five feet up to ten feetten feet
More than ten feetthirteen feet

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

(e) Forged steel safety hooks or shackles will be used to fasten the net to its supports. Attachment of safety nets to the working platform is not permitted.

(f) Connections between net panels will maintain the full strength of the net.

(8) Working over or near water.

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

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

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

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

(9) Night work.

When working at night, spotlights or portable lights for emergency lighting will be provided as needed to perform the work safely.

(10) Barriers and warning devices.

The employer will provide barriers and effective warning devices such as flasher lights, "Men Working" signs, cones, flares, lanterns, flags and reflectors, for the protection of employees when work is performed in congested areas and where employees are exposed to traffic hazards or other working conditions where a hazard may exist.

(J) Employee's responsibility.

It is the responsibility of the employee to properly use the equipment provided by the employer as specified in this rule.

View Appendix

Last updated February 1, 2024 at 8:51 AM

Supplemental Information

Authorized By: 4121.12, 4121.121, 4121.13
Amplifies: 4121.47
Five Year Review Date: 2/1/2027
Prior Effective Dates: 4/1/1964, 8/1/1977, 1/1/1986, 4/1/1999, 4/10/2011, 6/1/2016, 2/1/2022, 9/1/2023