Masonry work involves real hazards, and wearing the right clothing reduces the risk of injury. Furthermore, not wearing it can subject your employer to substantial fines. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can and does enforce federal regulations regarding protective equipment. OSHA REGULATIONS For the most part, OSHA's standards involve judgement calls. Employers are held responsible for educating employees about safety practices, making the required protective equipment available, and insisting that it is used. HARD HATS Hard hats are required on almost all construction sites. Protective headgear must do two things-resist penetration and absorb the shock of a blow. OSHA-approved hard hats conform to ANSI standard Z89.1-1969. SAFETY SHOES Safety boots protect against injuries caused by dropping heavy objects on the foot, or by stepping on sharp objects or scraps of masonry materials. Boots also help protect the ankles from scrapes and bruises. EYE PROTECTION OSHA requires eye protection equipment whenever there is a reasonable probability that an injury could be prevented by its use. OSHA-approved eye protection must conform to ANSI Z 87.1- 1968. RESPIRATORY PROTECTION Respiratory protection is required to prevent occupational diseases caused by breathing air contaminated with harmful dust, smoke, mist, gases, and vapors. GLOVES Work gloves protect hands from cuts and scrapes caused by handling rough-textured masonry units. They also can help prevent chemical burns from exposure to fresh mortar.