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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.
April 28, 1995
The Honorable Charles E. Grassley
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Grassley:
Thank you for your letter of March 10 on behalf of your constitute, Mr. Larry L. Larson, concerning a new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation requiring foot protection for employees exposed to falling object hazards. I appreciate the opportunity to address this matter.
As Mr. Roy Gurnham of my staff discussed with Ms. Hope Ann Hegstrom of your office on April 17, OSHA did not recently issue such a rule. Although, OSHA did promulgate a rule August 9, 1994 (copy enclosed) that requires toeboards to be provided in certain circumstances to protect employees against the hazard of falling objects (please see p. 40733 of the enclosed rule for fall protection), there is nothing in that rule that requires steel toed shoes to be worn. Of course, OSHA does require appropriate foot protection to be worn when there are foot hazards present (please see copy of 1926.95). Such hazards include nails in boards and equipment or materials that can cause injury if dropped. When such hazards are absent, such as may be the case in Mr. Larson's line of work, then there is no need to wear such protection.
If Mr. Larson would like additional information, he may contact Mr. Gurnham or Mr. Dale Cavanaugh of my staff in the Office of Construction and Maritime Compliance Assistance at (202) 219-8136.
Thank you for your interest in this matter.
Joseph A. Dear
March 10, 1995
David Zeigler, Asst. Secretary
Occupational Safety & Health
200 Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210
Dear Mr. Zeigler:
Enclosed please find a letter from one of my constituents regarding steel toed shoes.
I would appreciate any assistance you could provide pertaining to this matter. Please mark your return correspondence to the attention of Hope Ann Hegstrom when responding to my office.
Thank you for your attention to my request.
Charles E. Grassley
United States Senator
January 18, 1995
OSHA recently passed a ruling in the construction industry when it states that steel toed shoes will be worn at all times where a hazard exists of falling objects.
As I work for an elec. utility co. I find this ruling very unfair.
When customers or businesses are out of service we are required to restore service no matter what the weather. Sometimes these weather conditions can reach 25 degrees below 0.
My co-workers and I have experimented with many different kinds of footwear and you cannot keep your feet warm in steel toed shoes in these kinds of weather conditions.
Any help you can give us on changing this ruling would be greatly appreciated.
Larry L. Larson
2002 N. 24th Pl.
Ft. Dodge, Io. 50501