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.“When should companies require employees to wear steel toe boots?”
OSHA 1910.136 outlines occupational foot protection and general requirements. It states “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.”
The regulation also refers to consensus standards by American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and ANSI. All protective footwear must comply with one of these standards. Specifically, steel toe boots must meet guidelines for ASTM F2413-05.
Various hazards can cause “danger of foot injuries” that result in crushed/broken bones or puncture/amputation of toes or feet. If your facility faces these challenges or similar scenarios, steel toe boots can help prevent injury.
Developing a safety footwear program is ideal for employee awareness and compliance. When selecting or recommending footwear, its comfort, durability and anti-slip protection should be factored into the decision. Poorly designed footwear chosen because of cheaper costs may contribute to employee fatigue and deter buy-in.