OSHA Laws for Safety Shoes

OSHA rules and regulations regarding safety shoes have been in effect since the induction of OSHA, but the regulations have changed over the years to provide a safer and less accident-prone working environment. Safety shoe requirements were put into effect to protect workers from traumatic and debilitating foot injuries; each industry covered by OSHA has different rules and regulations.

  1. Steel-Toed Shoes

    • Steel-toed shoes or boots are required for individuals working in industries where heavy materials could likely fall on their feet. The steel reinforcement at the bottom of the shoe is used to ensure that all individuals working in an industrial environment are protected against accidental damage to the foot.


    • Electrical tradesman may be exempt from wearing steel-toed shoes as the conductive part of the shoe could potentially become a hazard. The shoes electrical tradesman wear must be approved for electrical safety and approved by the American National Standards Institute as "Electrical Hazard Footwear." These shoes have rubber components that help reduce the potential electrical hazards.

    Industry Exceptions

    • Certain industries have further expectations for footwear beyond the steel-toe safety requirement. For example, those in the cooking industry are required to wear shoes that comply with heat-safety requirements in addition to regular industrial hazard requirements. Most cooking-industry shoes are made of rubber in order to reduce the hazard of being burned by dropped hot food items.


    • The safety regulations set forth by OSHA are used in an attempt to protect individuals from serious injury. Steel-toed shoes have protected the feet of many workers and continue to do so today. The standards and guidelines have been changed over the years to accommodate new engineering and footwear technologies.


    • OSHA stands by the notion that employers should reimburse certain trades for the shoes they are required to wear; however, all employees, regardless of industry, who are required to wear safety shoes can deduct the cost of the shoes as a business expense on their taxes because the shoes are required to perform the job.

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