When workers think of personal protective equipment (PPE), they often focus on hard hats, safety glasses and gloves. However, leg and foot protection is equally important and should not be overlooked. Workers can be exposed to leg or foot injuries from items and activities, such as:
- Falling or rolling objects such as pipes and manholes
- Exposure to hot substances, chemicals or electrical hazards
- Walking on slippery, oily, or wet surfaces
- Walking on surfaces with sharp objects like nails & rebar
- Operating tools such as soil tampers and jack hammers
- Pouring, washing, or spraying chemicals or materials
- Lifting or working with all heavy objects
OSHA General Industry Standard 1910.136(a) “The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses protective footwear when
working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, objects piercing the sole, electrical shock,
water/chemical hazards or when the use of protective footwear will protect the affected employee from what remains after the employer takes other necessary protective measures to remove the hazard.”
OSHA Construction Standard 1926.95(a) “Protective equipment, including personal protective equipment for eyes, face, head, and extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields and barriers, shall be provided by employers, to be correctly used and maintained by employees to offset risks and hazards.”
PPE for Your Feet
Basic steel-toe or hard-toe work boots are required by employees and our subcontractors 100% of the time when performing common construction activities at Fiore & Sons work areas. Steel or hard toe shoes must meet specific company and federal standards for protection.
In addition to toe protection, using tools such as jack hammers and tampers requires the addition of metatarsal protection. Metatarsal guards protect the bones on the top of the feet.
For mechanics and oilers, be sure to check that your boots are labeled “slip and oil resistant” when walking on slippery or wet surfaces common to your work.
Consider using specialty foot protection designed for muddy, water soaked, or wet environments such as water proof rubber boots or boot covers and chest waders. Common wet tasks include wash bay use, water truck ops, concrete casting & finishing, surveying & staking, and snow removal to name a few.
Employees are encouraged to utilize their annual, once a year, $100 boot allowance to help offset the cost of repairs to, or purchase of new or replacement boots. New boots feel better and provide better protection during winter and wet weather. Keep your boots clean and routinely waterproofed; they will serve you better and last longer.
“10 fingers, 10 toes, 4 limbs, 2 eyes, and 1 nose….Safety Counts! “
National Safety Council, Ad Campaign 1999