OSHA has set forth a standard that an employer shall insure that each employee uses protective footwear when working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, piercing the sole or where such employees feet are exposed to electrical hazards. Employers have frequently had questions over when safety shoes are required and who has to pay for them. Generally, it is believed that the OSHA standard will be interpreted with an eye towards the employer’s experience with foot injuries to determine whether there has been a history of foot injuries due to work-related accidents. Where the hazard is particularly great, a history of prior accidents may not be required. OSHA representatives have recently announced that they are “working on the standard to tighten it up,” presumably to create some certainty as to when protective footwear will be required in the workplace.
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