Employers are responsible for ensuring that workers are protected on the job through hazard assessments, training and the provision of personal protective equipment. Safety training on the use of personal protective equipment confirms that workers understand the proper way to use and maintain safety equipment.
In some companies, safety hazards require workers to wear personal protective equipment such as safety shoes. Personal protective equipment, which also includes glasses, gloves and hard hats, protects the worker from injuries on the job. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, requires employers to provide safety shoes when hazards exist in the work environment.
Employer Responsibilities for Personal Protective Equipment
Requirements for Foot Protection
According to OSHA, foot protection is required when workers could suffer injuries from crushing or penetrating materials. When equipment such as nails or spikes could penetrate standard footwear, workers must wear safety shoes that are resistant to penetration while on the job. In work environments with rolling equipment such as forklifts or heavy tools that could drop on the feet, workers must wear safety shoes that protect the foot from crushing. Workers exposed to hot, poisonous or corrosive materials must use safety shoes to prevent injury, as well.
Types of Safety Shoes
The type of safety shoes a worker uses on the job depends on the type of hazard that exists in the work environment. For example, safety shoes can have steel reinforcement around the toes to prevent crushing, soles that are heat resistant and insoles that resist penetration. In some work environments, protective shoes that are electrically conductive are appropriate to prevent static electricity buildup. Safety shoes that protect the foot from hot metal, or foundry shoes, prevent liquid metal from getting stuck in the eyelets or tongue of the shoe.
Procedures for Employees
Employers may provide workers with a voucher to purchase safety shoes with a personal protective equipment vendor. Some organizations arrange for the vendor to visit the workplace and provide shoes to workers on the job. Employers may allot one pair of shoes per employee annually and workers can purchase additional pairs at their own cost.