Who needs it?..............OSHA 29CFR 1910.136 addresses foot protection as part of personal protective equipment. The general requirement is that the employer must 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, or objects piercing the sole, and where such employee's feet are exposed to electrical hazards. Whether full time, part time or seasonal, public works employees who encounter these types of hazards need protective footwear. Generally these hazards are found in a large portion of the work public works employees do, so it is important to make sure their feet are well protected.
What we’ve seen…………..One common trend that I see in public works as I travel around the state is that many cities are allowing public works employees to wear inappropriate footwear while on the job. Often times, I see employees wearing tennis shoes instead of steel toed work boots. This is not considered a best practice based upon the type of work that public works employees do. A work boot would certainly offer greater protection of the feet and toes, and typically provides greater traction to help reduce slips and falls. It’s important to make sure that proper footwear is being worn for the work being done, and a simple footwear policy would take care of this. So, if you don’t already have a policy in place that addresses proper footwear, I would encourage you to consider developing one.
Do you ever really think about your feet on the job in public works? Well, each year at least 120,000 workers certainly do. That’s because each of them suffered an accidental foot injury while on the job. And what are most of them thinking about? Chances are it’s the realization that their accident could have been prevented by using common safety sense and wearing the appropriate protective footwear.
Give us a call or drop an email…………..If you have questions related to protective footwear, don’t hesitate to contact the loss control consultant assigned to your city.
By Jackie Torgerson