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An OSHA Guide to Foot and Leg Protection Part 2

On a construction site, a lot can go wrong in a short amount of time. One minute, your employee is tightening a bolt or threading electrical wires through a crawl space, and the next they’re laying on their back with a lacerated leg and a faint recollection of the event that just transpired. As a contractor, you’re concerned about the health of your worker, but you also want to be certain that you had taken all of the necessary precautions to avert such an incident.

Consulting the OSHA defense lawyers at Cotney Construction Law can help minimize the legal aftermath of workplace foot and leg injuries. Our skilled construction law experts have been helping construction professionals enforce the rules and regulations established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for years.

In part one of this three-part article, we learned about who should be wearing foot and leg protection and when they should be wearing it. In part two, we will examine the performance standards for OSHA-compliant foot and leg protection and begin to explore different types of personal protective equipment (PPE) before wrapping up in part three.

Performance Standards

The American National Standard Institute (ANSI) establishes baseline standards for OSHA-compliant foot and leg protection in ANSI Z41-1991 (American National Standard for Personal Protection-Protective Footwear). All PPE must meet these standards or provide equivalent protection. Although uncommon, if your workforce’s PPE was purchased before July 5, 1994, it must meet the standards established in ANSI Z41.1-1967, which is the previous standard.

Any footwear approved by ANSI must feature a protective toe that is both impact- and compression-resistant. It’s important to understand the specific use case for every piece of PPE you plan to utilize on the project site. If you have questions about the effectiveness of a piece of PPE, check a product’s informational labeling or contact the manufacturer.

Types of Foot and Leg Protection

Construction professionals are required to use OSHA-compliant foot and leg protection to ensure their safety on the project site. There are many types of foot and leg protection including:

  • Leggings: guard the lower legs and feet from heat-related hazards like molten metal or welding sparks. Leggins can be discarded quickly using safety snaps.
  • Metatarsal guards: constructed from aluminum, steel, fiber or plastic, this PPE protects the top of the foot from impact and compression.
  • Toe guards: protect the wearer’s toes from impact and compression.
  • Combination foot and shin guards: total coverage for the lower legs and feet.
  • Safety shoes: all-purpose shoes with impact-resistant toes and heat-resistant soles. Commonly used in roofing, paving, and hot metal industries.

If you would like to speak with an OSHA lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.