PPE Selection >> Foot Protection

Figure 1: Worker with foot protection
Figure 1: Worker with foot protection.

The OSHA Hierarchy of Controls

  1. Engineering Controls
  2. Administration Controls
  3. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Workers may be at risk of crushing injuries due to contact with falling or rolling objects [29 CFR 1915.156]; as well as punctures from sharp objects.

Additional hazards include contact with:

  • Electrical or electricity
  • Molten metals
  • Hot surfaces
  • Chemicals
  • Wet or slippery surfaces

Injuries may be prevented by the use of appropriate footwear.

Potential Hazards

Workers may be exposed to injuries including:

  • Crushing from falling objects,
  • Crushing from rolling cylinders,
  • Punctures from sharp objects,
  • Burns or shocks from electrical hazards,
  • Burns from molten metal or hot surfaces,
  • Skin contact or burns from chemicals, or
  • Slips and falls from wet or slippery surfaces.

Requirements and Example Solutions

  • Workers must wear protective footwear when working in areas where there is a danger of falling or rolling objects or objects piercing the sole. [29 CFR 1915.156(a)] Examples include:
    • Impact injuries from carrying or handling materials such as equipment, objects, parts, or heavy tools which could be dropped or from objects that may fall during work activities.
    • Compression injuries from work activities involving forklifts, gas cylinders, and heavy pipes, which could roll onto worker's feet.
    • Puncture injuries from sharp objects such as nails, screws, staples, scrap or sheet metal, which workers may step on.

  • Protective footwear must meet ANSI Z41 or equivalent design requirements [29 CFR 1915.156(b)].
  • Safety shoes or boots may be required to provide special electrical conduction or insulation to prevent electric shock or static electric spark.
  • Chemical-resistant boots may be required to provide protection from caustic, reactive, toxic, or corrosive materials during cleaning, or surface preparation.
  • Slip-resistant soled shoes should be worn when working on slippery surfaces.