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OSHA 1910.136: Foot Protection

“OSHA’s Foot Protection standard is foundational to what we do. For 100 years, Lehigh has been an innovative supplier of safety footwear. This quality standard is at our core and has even inspired us to expand beyond protection from the accidental injury to wellness protection from long-term debilitating foot and body ailments.”

Lehigh CustomFit, 1-800-444-4086,

With more than a hundred moving parts, including bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments, the foot is easily one of the most complex structures in the human body. It makes all kinds of movement possible, from walking and running to jumping and climbing. Additionally, it is essential for balance. This combination of intricacy and functionality makes the foot especially vulnerable to injury during many kinds of activities, including the performance of workplace tasks. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 120,000 workers annually suffer from toe, foot and ankle injuries that result in an average of six days away from work. Some 22.3% of these cases were fractures or sprains/strains. Being struck by an object, run over by a vehicle or punctured by a metal item accounted for a large percentage of the injuries. The most common occupational foot injuries are:

  • Broken foot
  • Puncture wounds
  • Amputation of toes or feet
  • Foot sprain
  • Burns
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Hypothermia

OSHA 1910.136 requires employers to 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, or when the use of protective footwear will protect the affected employee from an electrical hazard, such as a static-discharge or electric-shock hazard, that remains after the employer takes other necessary protective measures. To that end, OSHA stipulates that protective footwear must comply with any of the following consensus standards:

  • ASTM F-2412-2005, “Standard Test Methods for Foot Protection”
  • ASTM F-2413-2005, “Standard Specification for Performance Requirements for Protective Footwear”
  • ANSI Z41-1999, “American National Standard for Personal Protection — Protective Footwear”
  • ANSI Z41-1991, “American National Standard for Personal Protection — Protective Footwear”

Protective footwear that the employer demonstrates is at least as effective as protective footwear that is constructed in accordance with one of the above consensus standards will be deemed to be in compliance with the requirements of this section.

Types of Foot Protection

The footwear industry has – and continues to – design and manufacture innovative shoes, boots and materials with which to make them, in order to be able to offer footwear that corresponds to specific hazards or combinations of hazards. Whether workers are performing tasks or spending time in environments that pose puncture, crush, electric shock, moisture or other type of risk, there is sure to be a safety boot or shoe that will fit their needs. The industry has also seen a move toward lighter-weight materials and ergonomic designs, so that workers who must wear them during long shifts will enjoy a higher degree of comfort. Slip resistant soles can help prevent slip and fall injuries.

For More Information

The Numbers

Citations regarding this standard by Federal OSHA for inspections during the period October 2021 through September 2022:

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