Health Codes and OSHA

Barefoot-hikers-entering-a-restaurantsharpenHave you ever heard the claim that “Shoes are required” due to Health Department or OSHA regulations?

In virtually all cases–that’s simply not true!

Below, we address each item separately, beginning with the Health Dept. claim.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

HEALTH DEPARTMENT CODES and Bare Feet

If you live in the U.S., perhaps you have SEEN THIS SIGN in a store or restaurant:

BF - health dept sign 2ER

DON’T BELIEVE IT &  DON’T ACCEPT IT

It’s a myth (ahem . . . an outright “lie”).

Health Department codes do not regulate customer clothing–including footwear.

Want proof?  Just search for any state’s health code (see below) and you can see for yourself.  Hint: they say nothing about it.

Ok, so how about written documentation?  Look no further than the letters below!  In 1997, several SBL members wrote to the health departments (or agriculture departments) of every state in the U.S. to confirm that they do not require footwear for customers.  In 2002 and again in 2009 they repeated the project to update responses.  UPDATE: This spring and summer (2017) a group of volunteers has initiated another effort to get updated letters from every state.  As responses arrive (most already have) we will post them below.

The links below show copies of the most recent response letters from each state.  All confirm that no health department (or agriculture dept.) regulation requires footwear for customers in any business or establishment–including stores and restaurants.

______________

  • RELIGIOUS GARB IN THE WORKPLACE: RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIESThis U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) web page addresses U.S. law related to dress and grooming in the workplace.  It deals with employee matters, but the principles seem relevant to anyone who chooses to go barefoot for religious reasons.
  • For BAREFOOT RIGHTS CARDS, which highlight the right to go barefoot on religious grounds and include relevant state law (for some states) click here.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

The responses below, in Adobe PDF format, can be printed and carried for easy reference when out and about . . .

Alabama    Alaska    Arizona    Arkansas    California    Colorado    Connecticut    Delaware    Florida    Georgia (Health)    Georgia (Agric.)    Hawaii    Idaho   Illinois   Indiana    Iowa    Kansas (Agric.)    Kentucky    Louisiana    Maine    Maryland    Massachusetts    Michigan (Health)   Michigan (Agric.)   Minnesota (Health)    Minnesota (Agric.)    Mississippi    Missouri   Montana    Nebraska (Agric.)    Nevada    New Hampshire    New Jersey    New Mexico    New York    North Carolina    North Dakota    Ohio (Health)    Ohio (Agric.)    Oklahoma    Oregon   Pennsylvania (Health)    Pennsylvania (Agric.)    Rhode Island    South Carolina    South Dakota    Tennessee (Health)    Tennessee (Agric.)    Texas   Utah (Health)   Utah (Agric.)    Vermont    Virginia (Health)    Virginia (Agric.)   Washington    West Virginia    Wisconsin    Wyoming (Health)    Wyoming (Agric.)

 Want to see EACH STATE’S HEALTH CODE for yourself?  Click here for the FDA website that provides direct links.

========

Wondering about CANADA REGULATIONS?

What about U.K. REGULATIONS? 

Other EUROPEAN REGULATIONS?

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

 OSHA and Bare Feet

 

QUESTION #1: Do OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulations (in the U.S.) require customers in businesses, including stores and restaurants, to wear some kind of footwear?

Man working on drywall projectANSWER:  No!  OSHA regulations apply only to employees, not customers.  But even for employees, OSHA requires footwear only in special circumstances-and then it must specify the standards and criteria.  In many cases, OSHA regulations do not require footwear for employees.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

QUESTION #2: When does OSHA require footwear for employees?

ANSWER:  The following OSHA regulations make reference to footwear:

1910.94 – Ventilation
(a)(5)(v) Safety shoes shall be worn to protect against foot injury where heavy pieces of work are handled. Safety shoes shall conform to the requirements of American National Standard for Men’s Safety-Toe Footwear, Z41.1-1967, which is incorporated by reference as specified in Sec. 1910.6.

1910.136 – Occupational foot protection
(a) General requirements. The employer shall 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, and where such employee’s feet are exposed to electrical hazards.
(b) Criteria for protective footwear.
(1) Protective footwear purchased after July 5, 1994 shall comply with ANSI Z41-1991, “American National Standard for Personal Protection-Protective Footwear,” which is incorporated by reference as specified in Sec. 1910.6, or shall be demonstrated by the employer to be equally effective.
(2) Protective footwear purchased before July 5, 1994 shall comply with the ANSI standard “USA Standard for Men’s Safety-Toe Footwear,” Z41.1-1967, which is incorporated by reference as specified in Sec. 1910.6, or shall be demonstrated by the employer to be equally effective.

1910.156 Fire brigades
(ii) The employer shall assure that protective clothing protects the head, body, and extremities, and consists of at least the following components: foot and leg protection; hand protection; body protection; eye, face and head protection.
(2) Foot and leg protection.
(i) Foot and leg protection shall meet the requirements of paragraphs (e)(2)(ii) and (e)(2)(iii) of this section, and may be achieved by either of the following methods:
(A) Fully extended boots which provide protection for the legs; or
(B) Protective shoes or boots worn in combination with protective trousers that meet the requirements of paragraph (e)(3) of this section.
(ii) Protective footwear shall meet the requirements of 1910.136 for Class 75 footwear. In addition, protective footwear shall be water-resistant for at least 5 inches (12.7 cm) above the bottom of the heel and shall be equipped with slip-resistant outer soles.
(iii) Protective footwear shall be tested in accordance with paragraph (1) of Appendix E, and shall provide protection against penetration of the midsole by a size 8D common nail when at least 300 pounds (1330 N) of static force is applied to the nail.
1910.269 – Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution
(3) “Sprayers and related equipment.”
(i) Walking and working surfaces of sprayers and related equipment shall be covered with slip-resistant material. If slipping hazards cannot be eliminated, slip-resistant footwear or handrails and stair rails meeting the requirements of Subpart D may be used instead of slip-resistant material.

1910.1029 – Coke oven emissions
(h) Protective clothing and equipment – (1) Provision and use. The employer shall provide and assure the use of appropriate protective clothing and equipment, such as but not limited to:…
{iv} Footwear providing insulation from hot surfaces for footwear;
{v} Safety shoes which comply with 1910.136 of this part;

1915.35 – Painting
(b)(7)(9) The face, eyes, head, hands, and all other exposed parts of the bodies of employees handling such highly volatile paints shall be protected. All footwear shall be non-sparking, such as rubbers, rubber boots or rubber soled shoes without nails.

1915.156 – Foot protection
(a) Use. The employer shall ensure that each affected employee wears 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.
(b) Criteria for protective footwear.
(1) Protective footwear purchased after August 22, 1996 shall comply with ANSI Z41-1991, “American National Standard for Personal Protection-Protective Footwear,” which is incorporated by reference, as specified in Sec. 1915.5, or shall be demonstrated by the employer to be equally as effective.
(2) Protective footwear purchased before August 22, 1996 shall comply with the “American National Standard for Personal Protection-Protective Footwear Z41-1983,” which is incorporated by reference, as specified in Sec. 1915.5, or shall be demonstrated by the employer to be equally effective.

1917.94 – Foot protection
(a) The employer shall direct that employees exposed to impact, falling objects, or puncture hazards wear safety shoes, or equivalent protection.
(b) Protective shoes shall bear identifying marks or labels indicating compliance with the manufacturing provisions of American National Standard for Men’s Safety Toe Footwear, ANSI Z41.1-1967.