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When I was just starting out in the trades, I complained to my employer that the polyurethane finishes I was applying were giving me headaches. He said, "Here, try this respirator," and handed me a 17¢ dust mask. It was up to me to do the research, identify the hazard, and provide my own NIOSH-approved protection from VOCs (volatile organic compounds). No longer. OSHA passed a ruling that went into effect on October 5, 1994, that places the responsibility for choosing "personal protective equipment" (PPE), and for making sure that employees use it, squarely on the shoulders of the employer. Deciding who pays for all this stuff is a slightly grayer area. Simply