Environment, Health and Safety Manual - Chapter 05.16: Occupational Safety Policies - Foot Protection


Environment, Health and Safety Manual - Chapter 05.16: Occupational Safety Policies - Foot Protection


Employees are expected to wear footwear appropriate for the duties of their employment. Sandals or other open-toe style shoes are not permitted to be worn in laboratories, shops, or other job locations where glass, caustic or corrosive chemicals, or hot materials are used or handled.


Students are expected to wear appropriate footwear while participating in laboratory exercises, or other instructional activities involving the use of glass, caustic or corrosive chemicals, or hot materials. Generally, sandals or other open-toe style shoes should not be worn in laboratories or during activities, which would require the use of eye protection devices. (See Chapter 5: Eye and Face Protection.)

Safety Shoes

Safety shoes are used to protect the feet against injuries from heavy falling objects, against crushing by rolling objects, or against lacerations from sharp edges, and against electrical hazards.

When Required

Safety shoes are required for employees whose routine job duties require the lifting, carrying, or moving, etc., of objects weighing more than fifteen pounds, which, if dropped, would likely result in foot or toe injury. Examples of job classifications likely to require safety shoes or boots include, but are not limited to, carpenters, welders, electricians, plumbers, maintenance mechanics, laborers, grounds workers operating power machinery or tools, and power plant maintenance workers.

Insole Protection

Flexible steel midsoles are required for employees who are likely to step on sharp objects, such as nails in boards, or stakes that could possibly penetrate normal shoe soles.

Ankle Protection

Six or eight-inch safety shoes are recommended for employees involved in activities where ankle abrasions are likely. These activities include, but are not limited to, climbing, crawling, construction, and demolition.


The protective identification ANSI code will be legible (printed, stitched, etc.) on one shoe of each pair. The following is an example of an ANSI code on a piece of protective footwear:

ANSI Z41 PT 91
FI/75 C/75 MT/75
Cd 1 EH

Line #1: ANSI Z41 PT91. This line identifies the ANSI Z41 standard. The letters PT indicates the protective section of the standard. This is followed by the last two digits of the year of the standard with which the footwear meets compliance (1991).

Line #2: FI/75 C/75 MT/75. This line identifies the applicable gender (M or F) for which the footwear is intended. It also identifies the existence of impact resistance (I), the impact resistance rating (75, 50, or 30 foot-pounds). This line can also include a metatarsal protection designation (MT) and rating (75, 50, or 30 foot-pounds).

Lines #3 & 4: Cd 1 EH; PR. This area of the label designates conductive properties (Cd) and type (1 or 2), electrical hazard (EH) and puncture resistance (PR), if applicable.

Wet Locations

Over-the-shoe rubber footwear to be worn over standard (or safety) footwear or boots is required in wet locations. The rubbers or boots are required in addition to the safety footwear recommendations listed above. Rubber boots with toe and metatarsal protection are recommended for employees working in flooded trenches or other locations where ordinary over-the-shoe protection would be inadequate to insure that the employee’s shoes would remain dry.

Specialized Footwear

Specialized footwear that would not customarily be worn off-the-job must be provided without cost to employees by their department. Examples of such specialized footwear include slip-on rubbers, and calf-length and knee-length rubber boots.

New Employees

Employees whose job duties require safety shoes will be required to obtain safety shoes before starting employment.

Cost Reimbursement

When safety shoes are required, the cost of one pair per year (not to exceed the state-allocated amount per year) will be paid by the University. Employees are to purchase the shoes and submit receipt to their department for reimbursement.


Once a job has been designated as requiring safety shoes, employees will not be allowed to work without the required foot protection.


Safety footwear shall comply with ANSI Z41.1-1991 “American National Standard for Personal Protection-Protective Footwear”.

Contact Information

Policy Contact

Environment, Health and Safety
1120 Estes Drive
Campus Box #1650
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-1650
Phone: 919-962-5507

Back to Chapter 05.15 - Eye Protection Program for Chemistry Laboratory Courses

Proceed to Chapter 05.17 - Compliance With Laboratory Safety Standards


Article ID: 131970
Thu 4/8/21 9:20 PM
Mon 7/4/22 2:07 PM
Effective Date
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01/30/2019 12:00 AM
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Executive Director
Last Review
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01/30/2019 12:00 AM
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01/30/2019 12:00 AM
Next Review
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09/01/2026 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
04/01/2012 12:00 AM
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Environment, Health and Safety