According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 60,000 foot injuries occur each year that result in lost work days. The National Council on Compensation Insurance reports that the average cost of a lost workday foot injury is $9,600. Not surprisingly, three quarters of workplace foot incidents occur when workers are not in compliance with standards set forth by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA). And 80 percent are caused by objects weighing less than 30 pounds impacting the foot.
In 2009, OSHA updated its personal protective equipment (PPE) standards and allowed employers to use PPE constructed in accordance with American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) consensus standards.
In essence, all employees must wear protective footwear when working in areas where there is potential danger of foot injury due to falling or rolling objects or those that may pierce a shoe. Footwear also most provide protection from electrical hazards.
ASTM Also Provides an Update
ASTM F2413-05 set standards for metatarsal, conductive, electrical shock and static dissipative protection and noted that these must be legibly marked on one shoe in every pair used in the workplace. In its most recent related update (F2413-11), ASTM added a requirement that protective footwear be certified by an independent third-party laboratory. This covers areas including:
- Impact and compression resistance for toes.
- Footwear conductive and static dissipative properties.
- Metatarsal impact and electrical hazard protection.
- Puncture resistance.
ANSI Z41 Compliance
ANSI’s latest standards revision mirrors that of ASTM, requiring footwear manufacturers and suppliers to produce independent lab test results that confirm safety compliance. Shoes and boots must first meet Section 1 General Requirements for All Types of Footwear and then those mandates set by additional sections such as electrical hazard, puncture and conductive protection.
About Add-On Devices
Neither ASTM not ANSI standards allow for the use of add-on devices to protective footwear. However, this does not mean that these strap-on, toe or metatarsal guards are unacceptable to OSHA. If an employer can provide documentation such as testing data proving that their add-on devices provide protection equivalent to either agency’s standards, then an employer is within compliance parameters.
Do you need additional updates on current OSHA safety standards or tips on fine tuning your workplace safety programs? To learn more, read our related posts or contact the industry experts at Premium Staffing.