A seaman recently filed a complaint against his employer, Deloach Marine Services LLC, alleging negligence. The complaint states that on March 19, the seaman was employed as a deckhand/engineer aboard the vessel M/V Zeland M. Deloach Jr. While working, he suffered workplace injuries resulting in expensive medical bills. He is seeking $2.5 million in damages and blamed the company for failure to provide safety equipment.
Is My Employer Required to Provide Safety Equipment?
When human error occurs or when a machine malfunctions, personal protective equipment (PPE) is often a worker’s last line of defense against serious injury or death. In May 2008, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) put a new rule into effect stating that not only are companies responsible for providing PPE, they are also required to pay for it. Employers cannot require workers to provide their own PPE. Here are the four responsibilities all employers must fulfill regarding PPE, according to OSHA:
- Complete a hazard assessment, identifying all hazards that are present or are likely to be present on a work site. This assessment must then be used to determine what types of PPE should be used.
- Ensure there is safety equipment available in addition to PPE. These extra precautions may include things like safe guards, engineering controls and good manufacturing practices.
- Provide training; employees who are required to use PPE must receive adequate training in its use by the employer. This includes when and what PPE is necessary, how to properly use PPE, the limitations PPE has and proper care, maintenance and disposal of PPE.
- Provide PPE for employees, and should an employee wish to use his or her own PPE, make sure that PPE meets or exceeds the protection necessary on a work site.
When an employer fails to meet these requirements, it could be held liable for injuries that workers sustain.