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When Your Employer Fails to Provide Required Personal Protective Equipment

Posted on November 08, 2018

When Colorado employers fail to provide necessary personal protective equipment and workers are injured, victims can recover money for lost wages, medical expenses, and more by filing a workers’ compensation claim. If workers’ compensation insurance is not available, workers can sue their employers for their injuries. Under OSHA regulations, Colorado employers are required to provide PPE to their workers. Employers may face fines for failing to provide PPE to employees under OSHA’s PPE rules.

Employers Must Provide PPE

Under the rules of the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, employers are mandated to provide certain types of PPE to their employees who must work around dangerous conditions or toxic substances. PPE serves as the last line of protection against these hazardous substances and dangerous conditions. Employers may not require their employees to purchase their own PPE and must instead provide the equipment to their employees to comply with OSHA’s standards. Employers must also provide regular training sessions for their employees about wearing PPE in the workplace. If the employers are found to have violated OSHA’s PPE requirements, they may face penalties of $1,000 per employee who didn’t receive the required equipment.

Employee Injuries

Employees who are injured at work because of exposure to dangerous or toxic materials may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits through their employers’ workers’ comp insurance carriers. All employers in Colorado are mandated to carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect their workers in the event that they are injured at work or contract work-related diseases. If the employers failed to provide PPE to their employees, and the employees were injured or contracted diseases as a result, the employees may file workers’ compensation claims.

Workers’ compensation may pay for all of the workers’ medical expenses and related costs for their injuries or illnesses. The workers will not have to use their own medical insurance or pay copays for the treatment. If the workers are disabled, they might also recover temporary or permanent partial or total disability payments through workers’ compensation on an ongoing basis until they are able to return to work.

Failing to provide PPE to workers makes little sense. The OSHA conducted an analysis of the potential economic impact on employers of providing PPE and found no significant impact. Not providing equipment may lead to substantial fines and increased premiums. Providing PPE helps to protect workers and reduce losses for employers and employees.

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