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.

July 17, 2006

Neelraj Patel
Pharmacist in Charge
4802 Jarboe Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64112

Dear Neelraj Patel:

This is in response to your April 24, 2006 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Directorate of Enforcement Programs. We regret that due to the volume of requests for letters of interpretation or clarification, we were unable to respond to your inquiry sooner. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any questions not delineated within your original correspondence.

You had a specific question relating to the use of "Crocs" Brand shoes (those that have a partially open heel but a covered toe) in a pharmacy setting. You asked for OSHA to interpret its guidelines on foot protection.

OSHA does not have a specific policy, or guidelines, on the wearing of open-heeled shoes. However, OSHA does have regulations pertaining to personal protective equipment, and more specifically, to protective footwear. They are found at 29 CFR 1910.132 and 1910.136 (copies enclosed). 29 CFR 1910.136(a) requires the use of protective footwear when employees are working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, or objects piercing the sole, and where there is a possibility of the employee's feet being exposed to an electrical hazard.

In general, the standards require that foot protection be used whenever it is necessary by reason of hazard of processes or environment which could cause foot injury. If you are exposed, however infrequently, to those hazards during the course of your business activities, then, during that period of exposure, you would be required to wear protective footwear. If an employee is not exposed to any hazards to the feet, then the use of protective footwear would not be required.

Normally, the employer will determine which, if any, of the employees are exposed to a foot injury hazard. Ultimately, the determination of appropriate footwear in the absence of any of the previously mentioned hazards would be a matter for labor-management negotiation to which OSHA would not be a party.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. 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. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of General Industry Enforcement at (202) 693-1850.

Sincerely,



Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs