You need protection top to bottom. Leg and foot protection is important for many jobs. Here’s how to choose the best foot protection for your work environment.
When workers think of personal protective equipment (PPE), they often focus on hard hats, safety glasses and gloves. However, leg and foot protection is equally important and should not be overlooked. Workers can be exposed to leg or foot injuries from tasks, activities, or areas such as:
OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.136(a) The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses protective footwear when working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, or objects piercing the sole, or when the use of protective footwear will protect the affected employee from an electrical hazard, such as a static-discharge or electric-shock hazard, that remains after the employer takes other necessary protective measures.
OSHA Construction Standard 1926.95(a) says that protective equipment, including personal protective equipment for eyes, face, head, and extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields and barriers, shall be provided, used, and maintained…
Basic steel toe or hard toe work boots should be considered when performing common construction activities such as lifting heavy objects. Steel or hard toe shoes must meet specific standards for protection.
In addition to toe protection, using some tools such as jack hammers and tampers may require the addition of metatarsal protection. Metatarsal guards protect the bones on the top of the feet.
OSHA Construction Standard 1926.95(d)(2) says that the employer is not required to pay for non-specialty safety-toe protective footwear (including steel-toe shoes or steel-toe boots) and non-specialty prescription safety eyewear, provided that the employer permits such items to be worn off the job-site.
OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.132(h)(2) The employer is not required to pay for non-specialty safety-toe protective footwear (including steel-toe shoes or steel-toe boots) and non-specialty prescription safety eyewear, provided that the employer permits such items to be worn off the job-site.
OSHA Standard 1910 Appendix B to Subpart I identifies the following occupations (noted as an incomplete list) for which foot protection should be routinely considered: shipping and receiving clerks, stock clerks, carpenters, electricians, machinists, mechanics and repairers, plumbers and pipe fitters, structural metal workers, assemblers, drywall installers and lathers, packers, wrappers, craters, punch and stamping press operators, sawyers, welders, laborers, freight handlers, gardeners and grounds keepers, timber cutting and logging workers, stock handlers and warehouse laborers.
Consider using foot protection designed for muddy, water soaked, or wet environments such as water proof rubber boots or boot covers and chest waders.
Boot covers or chemical resistant rubber boots should be worn when working with wet concrete or cement and similar chemicals.
Be sure to check that your books are labeled "slip and oil resistant" when walking on slippery or wet surfaces.
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