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The Safety Brief In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews
and insights into how contractors and safety managers
can be even more effective in protecting their workers.
In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews and insights into how contractors and safety managers can be even more effective in protecting their workers.

Who Pays For Temporary PPE?

Who pays for temp PPE? Not the worker. The host employer or the staffing agency are ultimately responsible for keeping temporary workers safe with the right gear.

OSHA’s Temporary Worker Initiative clarifies the hot potato of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the temporary worker. These workers suffer more from work related accidents than their full time counterparts.

Hear Dan Clark explain that it’s typically the host employer that is responsible for providing PPE, since work is done on site. Staffing agencies, though, have some responsibility too.

Dan also notes some PPE items which employers are not required to provide. There are links in the transcript below to OSHA’s complete list.

U.S. Army / PEO ACWA


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Dan Clark: Who opens their wallet to pay for the temporary workers’ personal protective equipment? Oh, there’s all kinds of finger-pointing on this. Let me give you the facts.

Hello, I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, tackling health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites.

OSHA notes that temp workers have a higher percentage of accidents and injuries. The agency developed the Temporary Worker Initiative (TWI).

Temp workers are often represented by staffing agencies. But, who’s responsible for worker safety? Who provides their PPE?


THE ANSWER: Not the worker. It’s never okay to make a worker pay for PPE, or deduct the cost of PPE from paychecks. Either the host employer or the staffing agency is responsible—and this is where the finger-pointing comes in. However, in most cases, the host employer is in the best position to provide PPE.

• The host employer knows the risks of the job.
• They know what types of PPE have been most effective in the past.
• They are on-site daily to see that new temporary workers have received PPE and the training in how to use it.
• They can ensure worker compliance.


Staffing agencies, though, aren’t off the hook. If a host employer doesn’t provide PPE, the staffing agency still could get into trouble with OSHA.

• It’s best to have a written agreement about providing PPE, and conducting training.
• If an agreement states that the host employer will provide PPE, staffing agencies must follow up to make sure it’s true.
• If an agreement says the staffing agency provides PPE, the host employer must make sure that the gear is appropriate for the job.

When temporary workers start new jobs they should know who will provide the equipment. If equipment isn’t provided, they should report it directly to their employer—the staffing agency.

***Asterisk Time: With government regulations come exceptions. PPE, such as logging boots, most steel toe boots, and normal work boots, are to be provided by the employee. Every day clothing such as long sleeve shirts, long pants and street shoes are also exempt. Weather-protective clothing such as winter coats and jackets and gloves are also not required to be provided by an employer. Links to OSHA’s full list is in the transcript of this podcast, at

That’s all for this episode on Who Pays For Temp PPE? Come back for more ways to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, a service of Creative Safety Supply. Save 10% off your entire order at with coupon code SAFETYBRIEF.


OSHA’s Temporary Worker Initiative (TWI) on PPE at this link

Employers are exempt from providing some PPE. See OSHA rules 9 CFR 1910.132(h) and 29 CFR 1926.95(d).

Foundry image 2008 by the US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) / Stephen T. Anderson

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