Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

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

November 3, 1998

Mr. John Pavelko
Vice President, Training and Accident Prevention
Pacific Maritime Association
Sacramento Street Tower
550 California Street
San Francisco, CA 94104-1060

Dear Mr. Pavelko:

The purpose of this letter is to respond to your letter of March 24, 1998 which we received by a facsimile message from Mr. Mark McDonald on July 28, 1998, regarding safety shoes in the longshoring industry. We have enclosed copies of the OSHA regulations which apply to your industry (29 CFR Part 1917.94 and 29 CFR 1918.104).

In response to your three specific questions, we offer the following responses:

1. Question - Does Rule 650 of the Pacific Coast Marine Safety Code meet OSHA regulations?

We have reviewed Rule 650 of the Pacific Coast Marine Safety Code and determined that the OSHA regulations pertaining to foot protection are more specific and require a higher degree of safety. Rule 650 states that "appropriate foot protection shall be worn to protect against falling, crushing or penetration actions" but does not specify what is meant by appropriate. The OSHA regulations are more specific as they require that the protective footwear must comply with American National Standards Institute, ANSI Z-41-1991, American National Standard for Personal Protection - Protective Footwear. We have attached a copy of ANSI Z-41-1991 for your review.

2. Question - Who determines when safety shoes are required?

The employer is responsible for determining when and where safety shoes must be worn.

3. Question - Who pays for safety shoes?

OSHA does not require employers to pay for ordinary safety shoes if they may be worn away from the worksite. The question of payment for such safety shoes may be left to labor-management negotiations.

We appreciate your continued interest in occupational safety and health.


Richard Fairfax
Acting Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs