Safety Footwear at work
Under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, employees are required to wear suitable personal protective equipment where necessary. When we say ‘necessary’, this covers any situation where the employee’s health or safety is at risk. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_Protective_Equipment_at_Work_Regulations_1992 for more details on this regulation).
Safety Footwear IS an item of Personal Protective Equipment, meaning it is covered under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations.
Do employers have to provide Safety Footwear?
Yes. The PPE at Work Regulation states that ‘Every employer shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to his employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work except where and to the extent that such risk has been adequately controlled by other means which are equally or more effective.’
Therefore, if you are in a workplace where your feet are at risk of injury, such as slips, trips or dropping heavy objects, it is your employer’s responsibility to provide you with the appropriate footwear. As for the cost of the footwear? This brings us onto the next section.
Who pays for PPE in the workplace?
If your PPE is required in the workplace and is used ONLY in the workplace, the cost of your safety footwear should be covered by the EMPLOYER.
If you require Safety Footwear to protect your feet in work, your employer should provide you with these and cover the cost of them.
(Information found from HSE: https://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/faqs/ppe.htm)
What should I look for in a work boot?
Its extremely important to ensure you find a Boot or Shoe that fit comfortably and doesn’t cause any aches or pains especially when you are on your feet for long periods of time.
- The upper section of the boot should be made with high quality natural or man-made materials and fabrics.
- The lining should be breathable to keep the foot dry and comfortable, as well as smooth and seam-free to avoid irritation.
- The insole should be removable, allowing for insertion of custom insoles to suit your own foot shape/size.
- The toe area should be deep and wide, allowing plenty of room for the wearer to move there toes without rubbing against the toe cap.
- The sole of the Boot/Shoe should be durable yet flexible for maximum movement. It should offer shock absorption properties reduce the impact on the bottom of the foot.
- The foot should have a function to secure it, such as laces or velcro. This will secure the foot inside the boot/shoe.
Problems with feet or legs occur regularly in a workplace due to workers not wearing the correct footwear.
We strongly recommend to NOT cheap-out on your safety footwear and invest in good quality safety boots for and your workforce. Figures state that roughly 80% of adults suffer with foot and leg pains, which can be linked to not wearing the appropriate footwear.
(Information found at TUC: https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/footwear.pdf)
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