On September 9, 2009, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its final regulations revising the personal protective equipment (PPE) sections of its general industry, shipyard employment, longshoring and marine terminals standards concerning requirements for eye-and face-protective devices, and head and foot protection. The revised standards go into effect on October 9, 2009.

The revised standards include a requirement that safety shoes comply with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard and that filter lenses and plates in eye protection meet a test for transmission of radiant energy specified by ANSI. Further, the revised standards allow employers to meet the design requirements of its PPE standards by using PPE constructed in accordance with any of three national consensus standards, i.e., the two most recent national consensus standards or the national consensus standard incorporated in current OSHA standards. If, however, the employer can demonstrate that the PPE it selects is as protective as PPE constructed in accordance with one of the incorporated consensus standards, employers are permitted to use PPE that is not manufactured in accordance with one of the listed consensus standards.   

OSHA revised the PPE standards because the previously incorporated ANSI standards were more than a decade old. Over the past ten years, ANSI updated all of its standards, and, in at least one instance, withdrew its standard for protective footwear when the American Society for Testing Materials International (ASTM) adopted its own. In response, manufacturers began producing PPE that conformed to the updated ANSI and ASTM standards, but employers and employees had difficulty obtaining PPE manufactured in accordance with the previously adopted OSHA standards. The revised standards should solve this problem.