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Company Uniforms + Safety Gear - Who Pays?


LawnSite Member
Austin, Texas

I'm new to these forums. My dad, ed2hess, pointed out this site recently and I finally got some free time and joined up today.

Anyway, I was hoping to get some feedback on a question I just brought up recently with my brother about company uniforms.

For the companys out there that require uniforms are you giving these uniforms to your employees free or are they required to buy them?

I was under the impression that most of the bigger National companies require employees to buy their uniforms from the company itself, but after consulting with one of our lawyers he said this was illegal.

Now after hearing that I'm just curious to hear what the standard protocol is around the US on this matter for both the big and small companies out there.

Also I'd be curious to hear what the legalities are on requiring employees to buy certain types of equipments (safety glasses, gloves, boots, ect).

Once again do most companies provide these things free or is it up to employee to purchase this his or herself?



LawnSite Fanatic
I always provided those to the employees, except for pants, they had to buy the blue navy dickies themselves


LawnSite Bronze Member
South Jersey
We supply their shirts, sweat shirts, jackets and all PPE except workshoes. They have choice of tinted or clear safety glasses and we have an ear plug station in the shop as well as spare plugs in each truck. Also, each employee is provided gloves.


LawnSite Member
we supply t-shirts, sweatshirts,rain gear, ear and eye protection, and also gloves. whether or not they use them, is there own choice.
i just got every one to use ear protection this last year by buying the ear protection with radios in them but i do make them buy thier own batteries when the ones that came with them ran out.
I also suggest they wear steel toe boots.


LawnSite Silver Member
I buy the first 2 for them. after that they buy their own. As for safety equiptment, earplugs, safety glasses and such, I supply those. I belive it is law via osha that you supply all safety equiptment. Uniforms are required but federal and state law does not require to pay for those.


LawnSite Member
New Brighton, MN
If you are going to have the employee sign a memo stating safety protocal. I think you need to provide them with it or they are not alowed to work. Whether its used properly is none of your consern after that though. I have signed many things for other people over the years and they told me straight up, I am not going to lose my house and business over a 5 dollar pair of safety goggles.


LawnSite Fanatic
Beaverton, OR
We supply all uniforms and safety equipment to employees - at our cost. I just keep good tabs on them and make sure they aren't mis-treating them. Shirts and sweatshirts and hats get worn over time. I understand that. So periodically, I allow them to trade in their ragged uniforms for new ones. I want to keep my guys looking good.

I just gained a killer employee this week from another company. He'd been with them quite a while and was just sick of their assanine policies. One of them was that he had to buy all of his own uniforms, including a $40 company jacket. If he came to work without the jacket, he was forced to buy another one (and they'd take it out of his pay) or go home for the day. If he didn't have a watch on him (regardless of the fact that he had a cell phone on him that read the time) he was sent home. His shoes were inspected every week and he had to buy new ones if they didn't look good enough. He was forced to use his own personal cell phone to communicate with his bosses, etc. etc. etc.

They thought they were doing the right thing by having such a strict regiment for everyone to follow. But what it did was made them lose a great employee! He's fluent in spanish and english, works like a horse, well groomed, I didn't have to train him on anything, is responsible, etc. and I am paying him $1 less per hour than they were. He knew we didn't pay as much going into it. I told him we couldn't afford to pay as much as he was making there. He didn't care. He came to work for us for less just because they were so stingy about this kind of stuff.

Treat your employees right and they will usually return the favor. Treat them like mindless peons and they will have low morale and seek work elsewhere.


LawnSite Member
Might I also add / suggest to all of you that each and every company have a "written" safety policy. This policy SOG-SOP must state how / when they are to use the safety equipment you supply to them. OSHA requires you to do this. Also your insurance company will be happier that you do this also.

Acute Cut

LawnSite Senior Member
Bellingham WA
They buy thier own undies, socks, boots (steel toe recommended), and pants (carhart double pleated recommended). The rest is mine. I got radio ear muffs for the guys. They LIKE wearing thier hearing protection. I let them pick thier own safety glasses. Shirts and coats are new this year. We 6 in our little company look GOOD. lol. Some day we might even give the little bit bigger guys a run for the money i think. Ya never know. hope so though