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Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.132; 1910.132(d); 1910.136; 1910.136(a)

August 28, 2003

Ms. Heather Siemon
4015 Estermarie Dr., Apt. 43
Cincinnati, OH 45236

Dear Ms. Siemon:

Thank you for your July 29, 2003 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Directorate of Enforcement Programs. 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 specific questions regarding wearing open-toe shoes in an office environment. The OSHA requirements for protective footwear are found at 29 CFR 1910.136. Your paraphrased scenario and our response follow.

Scenario: I work at a desk job billing clients for pharmaceuticals and supplies. We have little to no interaction with the warehouse staff or the pharmacy area. Are we allowed to wear open-toe shoes?

Response: OSHA does not have a specific policy on the wearing of open-toe shoes in an office environment. The OSHA occupational foot protection standard at 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.

If you are exposed, however infrequently, to those hazards during your interaction with warehousing activities or pharmacy 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. 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.


Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs

Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents

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