hand protection in cold weatherUse common sense, says OSHA. In a letter of interpretation sent by federal OSHA in Washington to an employer asking about mandatory cold weather hand protection, the agency responded:

“The PPE standard for hand protection, 29 CFR 1910.138, specifies the selection criteria to be used when providing hand protection.

“However, unlike the other revised PPE standards for eye and face, head and foot protection, the hand protection regulation does not specify criteria for the actual equipment to be provided to employees.

“The standard states ‘Employers shall base the selection of the appropriate hand protection on an evaluation of the performance characteristics of the hand protection relative to the tasks to be performed, conditions present, duration of use, and the hazards and potential hazards identified.’ As stated in paragraph 2 of Appendix B, Assessment and selection, ‘It should be the responsibility of the safety officer to exercise common sense and appropriate expertise to accomplish these tasks.’

Employers should use manufactures' data on the effectiveness of any given product to protect against cold, as well as employee feedback, in selecting hand protection.