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Can Electricians Wear Steel Toe Shoes?

A question we often receive when performing the PPE section of our electrical safety training has to do with steel toes shoes or boots. Can Electricians Wear Steel Toe Shoes? We would recommend as a best practice to wear a composite toe shoe or boot but neither OSHA nor NFPA 70E prohibits it as long as a few conditions are met.. OSHA in a Letter of Interpretation dated March 17, 1993 states:

"OSHA does not generally consider the wearing of steel-toe shoes by electrical tradesmen to be hazardous, so long as the conductive portion of the shoe is not in contact with the employee's foot and is not exposed on the outside of the shoe. One option you and your employer may wish to consider is the purchase of non-metallic safety footwear that provides both foot protection and is non-conductive".

Rozel recommends that electrical workers wear Electrically Hazard rated shoes. Be sure to read our our Feb 22, 2017 safety tip for an in-depth description of EH rated shoes by clicking the button below. Generally, EH rated shoes come with a composite non-conductive toe.

Additionally steel toes would be considered conductive and are required to stay outside of the restricted approach boundary per NFPA 70E 130.4(G) "No qualified person shall approach or take any conductive object closer to exposed energized electrical conductors or circuit parts than the restricted approach boundary"

Link to reference

OSHA Letter of Interpretation - requirements for employees in the electrical trade to wear steel-toe shoes.