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Q: Electrical linemen's climbing gear. ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Electrical linemen's climbing gear.
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: rcer-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 07 Nov 2005 16:40 PST
Expires: 07 Dec 2005 16:40 PST
Question ID: 590299
Who is responsible for paying for an electrical linemen's climbing
gear. The employee or the employer? This is not considered PPE but
more as tools of the trade. The climbing gear usually consist of a
body belt, a safety strap, gafs and linemens climbing boots that have
to be special ordered for each individual and can not be passed on to
others in the company when the employee decides to change jobs. We are
a merit shop electrical contractor based in California.

Request for Question Clarification by czh-ga on 07 Nov 2005 23:24 PST
Hello rcer-ga,

This question was addressed by OSHA Docket S-042. OSHA issued a
proposed rule on March 31, 1999 which was followed by a public comment
period which closed on December 13, 1999. The rule making was not
completed and OSHA decided that it needed additional input. The public
comment period was reopened on July 8, 2004 and closed again on August
23, 2004.

I have not been able to find any evidence that any further action has
been taken on this proposed rule. It seems that there are no final
rules on the question you asked.

I can provide you with full documentation of this record and its
current status. Will this meet your needs?

~ czh ~

Clarification of Question by rcer-ga on 14 Nov 2005 05:38 PST
Sorry for the slow response. I need no more clarification. I knew the
answer but needed backup for our labor Attorney. Thanks for the fast
response and the money is yours. I tried to make this happen, but am
unable to do so. I see no screens that allow this to happen yet. I
will check back latter today and see if Google allows me to do this.
Probably waiting on my clarification post!

Thanks again!
Subject: Re: Electrical linemen's climbing gear.
Answered By: czh-ga on 14 Nov 2005 09:17 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hekllo rcer-ga,

I'm glad to hear that the information I found about the current status
of the rules about electrical lineman's climbing gear is what you were
looking for. Here are the relevant sections regarding OSHA Docket
S-042. Thank you for accepting my answer.

~ czh ~

[Federal Register: July 8, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 130)] 
[Proposed Rules]
[Page 41221-41225] From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access

Occupational Safety and Health Administration 
29 CFR Parts 1910, 1915, 1917, 1918 and 1926
[Docket S-042] 
RIN 1218-AB77
Employer Payment for Personal Protective Equipment 
AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), U.S.
Department of Labor.
ACTION: Notice of limited reopening of rulemaking record. 

SUMMARY: On March 31, 1999, OSHA issued a proposed rule to require
employers to pay for all personal protective equipment (with a few
specific exceptions) used by their employees. Public comments were
received, hearings were held, and the record was closed on December
13, 1999.

OSHA has been evaluating the rulemaking record and is in the process
of reaching a final determination on the proposal. While analyzing the
issues raised in the original proposal and the evidence in the record
relating to these issues, OSHA has determined that one issue needs
further public comment. Specifically, the issue relates to whether or
how a general requirement for employer payment for personal protective
equipment (PPE), should address types of PPE that are typically
supplied by the employee, taken from job site to job site or from
employer to employer, and considered to be ``tools of the trade.''

In light of the significant comments in the record, OSHA believes that
further information is necessary to fully explore the issues
concerning a possible limited exception for paying for PPE that is
considered to be a ``tool of the trade''. In particular, OSHA is
seeking comments that could potentially lead to agreed-upon criteria
establishing what constitutes a ``tool of the trade'' for purposes of
employer payment. As discussed earlier, moving from job-to-job may be
one consideration, as may be the personal nature of certain PPE. This
notice therefore reopens the record for a limited period of time for
further public comment on this issue. The notice discusses the
evidence currently in the record on this issue and presents a series
of questions to assist the public in providing further information
that would be helpful to OSHA.

DATES: Comments must be postmarked no later than August 23, 2004.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by Docket S-042, by any
of the following methods: Federal eRulemaking Portal: .

DATES: Comments must be postmarked no later than August 23, 2004.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by Docket S-042, by any
of the following methods: Federal eRulemaking Portal: .

Employers and employer representatives in the electric power industry
maintained that pole climbing equipment including lineman's belts,
gloves, gaffs, hooks, pads and spikes are considered to be tools of
the trade rather than PPE and that linemen customarily purchase the
equipment themselves and take it with them from job to job (Ex. 12-16,
12-38, 12-150, 12-161, 12-183, 12-206, 12-201). Comments to the record
indicated that reasons for this practice include the need to size and
fit the belt to the individual employee, that exchanging such belts
with other employees could increase safety risks, and that linemen's
hook gaffs are typically sharpened to the ``taste'' of the lineman and
are individually adjusted to the lineman's calf length and preference.
(Ex. 12-16, 12-38, 12-144). David Ayers, Director of Safety for the
MYR Group, who provides contracted electrical services, testified that
these factors along with the use of labor pools and high turnover in
the industry make it necessary for employees to pay for certain kinds
of linesmen PPE:

This subject has been the subject of the collective bargaining process
with individual locals of the International Brotherhood of Electrical
Workers across the country. (Tr. 633-637). However, John Devlin of the
Utility Workers' Union of America stated that climbing gear, belts,
and harnesses are usually provided by employers in the electrical
utility industry (Tr. 457-459). He also testified that, as a welder
with an electric utility company, the employer provided and paid for
all PPE except safety shoes (Tr. 447).

In light of the issues outlined above, OSHA believes that further
information is necessary to fully explore the issues concerning PPE as
``tools of the trade.'' OSHA invites comment on how a final rule
generally requiring employers to pay for PPE should address PPE
considered to be tools of the trade. Specifically, OSHA invites public
comment on the following questions:
rcer-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $100.00
Thanks for the fast response!

Subject: Re: Electrical linemen's climbing gear.
From: czh-ga on 14 Nov 2005 15:27 PST
Hello rcer-ga,

Thank you for the five stars and very generous tip.

~ czh ~

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