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Safety Nugget Week of March 28 - Danger Ahead! No, Danger A'foot'< Back to Blog

Mar 28, 2016
By: Y. Johnson
Categories: Safety

 There is a common thread that almost everyone shares and that is the    wearing of shoes.  Now, for some, the type of shoe is not that important  as long as it serves the purpose of covering the feet; keeping them cool  in the summer and warm in the winter, and if found on sale - even better.  There are others who think of a pair of shoes as an accessory to an  outfit and every outfit should have a matching pair.  In these instances  it's about the color, style and season.  And then there is the mandatory  safety shoe required by certain employers to be OSHA compliant due to  the environment and possible dangers that could occur if not worn.  But  that's not what this Safety Nugget is about.

The thought process in writing about the subject of footwear was not so much about the already known necessity to wear OSHA compliant safety shoes on hazardous job sites but the curiosity of what, if anything, was available regarding the office environment and the variety of shoes that are worn by office personnel.  I personally love my cowboy boots and sneakers and feel they are a safe choice but when the heat of summer is scorching everything it touches, the most common shoe selected to wear are open-toed sandals.  These are worn by both men and women in recreation but worn by more women in the work environment due to the beautiful styles that come out each year.  A sandal for every occasion.

I found one entry on the OSHA website dated August 28, 2003 under Occupational Safety & Health Administration section.  OSHA's response to the question, 'Are we allowed to wear open-toed shoes?' started out by saying they do not have a specific policy on the wearing of open-toed shoes in an office environment, that OSHA (follows) the foot protection standard at 29 CFR 1910.136(a) which requires the use of protective footwear when working in areas where there is danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, to name just a few hazards.  

The comment went on to say that even though a person might work in an office, if they were exposed to any hazards mentioned in the foot protection standard, however infrequently, then during that period of exposure such a person would be required to wear protective footwear.  At a previous employer, I often would have to go to the warehouse as my job duties required and while in the office my attire was skirts and high heels, when going into the warehouse I traded the heels for steel-toed safety boots.  They may not have matched my outfit but I was in compliance and that's all that mattered.

So rather you are the no-nonsense shoe shopper, a shoe and accessory fashionista, or the hard working OSHA compliant employee, foot safety should be considered regardless of the outfit.  Let safety be the new fashion!