AFL-CIO sues over protective clothing

Jan. 3, 2007 at 6:42 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- The AFL-CIO has sued the U.S. Department of Labor for failing to require employers to pay for employees' protective clothing or equipment.

The labor federation, joined by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, said the Labor Department has delayed issuing a rule with this requirement for nearly eight years.

The rule -- proposed by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration in 1999 -- would require employers to pay for items such as gloves, face shields, special clothing, lifelines and other equipment used to protect workers from on-the-job hazards.

OSHA requires employers to determine if workers need personal protective equipment, but it does not say who must pay for the equipment.

The lawsuit asks the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington to order Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to issue the rule within 60 days of the court's ruling.

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