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OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.
November 21, 1991
Mr. Lamont Byrd
Safety and Health Department
International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs,
Warehousemen and Helpers of America
25 Louisiana Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001
Dear Mr. Byrd:
This is in response to your letter of July 25, 1991 in which you mentioned a telephone conversation with Mr. Joseph Ashley of my staff. The point at issue in this conversation was whether the implementation of a policy which would require these employees to wear leather shoes while operating vehicles in the course of their employment would be a matter of concern to OSHA. You also stated in your July 25 letter to me that the question of steel-toed safety shoes does not enter into the matter since the employer merely wishes to require the wearing of leather shoes rather than leather sneakers or deck shoes.
Your latest request is that the statements made to you in the telephone conversation with Mr. Ashley be reduced to writing as a statement of OSHA policy.
Let me assure you that the matter as stated by you would not be of concern to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This is because you indicated in your letter that the affected drivers would not be in manual handling. The situation you described would be a matter of labor-management negotiation to which OSHA would not be a party. Our conclusion might be different if in fact truck drivers are exposed to hazards to the feet because of tasks performed by the drivers or by other workers. We also repeat our earlier recommendation that you contact the U.S. Department of Transportation to determine if they regulate the type of footwear worn by over-the-road truck drivers.
Please accept my apology for the delay in response. I trust that the receipt of this letter will resolve the matter for all concerned.
Patricia K. Clark
Directorate of Compliance Programs