Are Employers Required To Pay For Steel Toe Boots?

Are Employers Required To Pay For Steel Toe BootsNothing around you comes free of cost.

Everything has its own price, be it a matchbox or an aeroplane.

Whenever you purchase any item from marketplace or online, you have to pay a certain amount of money for the same.

And it’s quite worthy because that purchased item is meant for your purpose.

But what if you require something related to your job profile!

Is your office or the employer liable to bear that particular expense of yours?

For e.g., if an industrial worker needs a PPE or Hard Hat or a pair of Steel Toe Boots, who is going to pay for his requirements?

The worker himself or the employer?

This issue is a big question for our readers out there.

Just imagine!

A daily waged worker who is unable to meet his basic needs properly, how is it possible for him to bear the expenses of his safety gears, necessary in his work-field!

Gradually, as you go over this article you will find all your answers.

So, keep scrolling!

Workers, never by any chance, are bound to bear the expenses of his steel toe boots or any other safety gears for his job purpose. It is the sole responsibility of the administrator or the employer to provide every safety measures to the employee, be it their work-boots or PPE or their safety glasses or head protection.

When workers are working in a factory on the basis of monthly salary, they are in action for the better production of the factory. And this increase in production level is ultimately beneficial for the employer and the owner.

Let’s make this more clear to you.

Rules Of OSHA

Just take a quick look at what OSHA has to say about this-

Rules Of OSHA for steel toe boots

1.) The employer has to provide all the protective equipment like PPE, work-boots, safety eyewear, hard hats etc. to his employees and that too free of cost. The workers should also keep one thing in mind, not to wear these items when he is not at his jobsite.

2.) In case of metatarsal protection built-in work-boots, the employer cannot reimburse the worker for those shoes or boots.

3.) If an employee’s steel toe boots get lost or damaged, intentionally, then only he is bound to pay for the replacement. It is the user’s fault.

4.) In case, any employee prefers non-speciality safety toe footwear rather than the steel toed ones on their work-field, then the employer is not bound to pay for the worker’s boots, even if the workers wears them all-time.

5.) When an employer pays for the steel toe boots, he will definitely choose the right pair for his employees to avoid hazards at work-place.

6.) Moreover, he will be very much concerned about the usage and maintenance of the steel toe boots, resulting into higher protection of employees and fewer injuries and fatalities for them.

Sample Protective Footwear Policy

This policy got initiated from the 1st of July 2015.

It was the best way of that time to keep the workers informed about their safety footwear requirements along with the price.

The Policy Statement-

This policy was a clear message to the employers involving workers onsite.

      • If an employee (worker) needs special safety boots, the employer has to provide it by bearing the expense of the footwear.
      • If an employee doesn’t need the boots, then the employer has to defray some of the cost of the safety boots.
      • The company makes every possible protective gear available for the employees, to protect them from hazards.

This policy outlines the requirements for obtaining Company Reimbursement for safety boots.

      • It is the responsibility of the Management to first evaluate the various hazards and then provide the perfect safety gears to prevent those hazards.
      • The nature of the hazard is then noted down in the Company’s form in short, with the areas or job titles, after proper survey. The date of survey should also be mentioned in the form. Finally, the Supervisor signs the form.
      • The Management arranges an training camp for the employees to educate them about the proper and current usage, proper care and maintenance of safety equipment.
      • It is the Supervisor who maintains an acknowledgement record of the employees attending the training.

Requirements for obtaining safety footwear (steel toe boots)-

      • The employee should work in such an area on regular basis, where the safety boots are a must.
      • If the job profile of any employee requires the usage of steel toe boots regularly, he can easily obtain the footwear.
      • The Company-designated supplier supplies such safety work-boots.
      • The loss-control coordinator will decide what type of safety boots is required by the employees for that particular area or operation, like the boots can either be the steel toed ones or the metal-free shoes or metatarsal guards.

Eligibility for reimbursement of safety boot’s expense-

Both full-time and part-time employees working around hazards are eligible for these safety boots.

Limitation of the policy-

      • The amount of Company reimbursement for safety boots in a year will be decided by the loss-control coordinator.
      • The Company’s reimbursement will allow only 2 pairs of safety boots for each employee, every year. This reimbursement rule may vary as per case basis.
      • Replacement of safety boots is determined only after the return of the first pair to the loss-control coordinator.
      • The protective footwear must comply with the following standard of the ANSI Z41.

Responsibility of the employee-

      • If there is any difference between the cost of the safety boots and reimbursement amount, then the employee shall bear it.
      • An employee should take proper care of his steel toe boots and maintain them.
      • During working hours it is the responsibility of the employee to wear his safety boots and avoid accidents.

Safety Shoe Voucher Program

The Town of Davidson initiated a policy where the employees should be provided with safety footwear for protection. This policy ensured the safety of the employees working in areas with hazardous conditions. This program benefitted the employees. (PDF)

Time to grab the information in details.

Purpose of the program-

The purpose of the above voucher policy was to provide an annual voucher for the safety footwear for employees in the public departments.

Who are eligible for this?

The employees eligible for this voucher program should be within the below categories-

When an employee is hired into a position where steel toe boots are required.

In case, if the department head certifies that the present safety shoe pair of the employee is unfit for regular use, then he can purchase a new pair of safety boot. The old pair will get qualified for reimbursement.

Moreover, if the employer finds that a second pair is necessary, then the Town will issue a voucher of half the cost and the remainder will be paid by the employee.

The Town Manager or the authorized employer has to issue a voucher for a second pair of safety boots to the employees, if the first gets damaged because of normal wear or tear during a heavy task by the employee.

In each fiscal year only one pair of safety boot is allotted to per employee, normally. The employee has to bear the expense of his new safety boots, if he wants a replacement within the same fiscal year. But the employee shall not be excused from wearing his steel boots when he is at work, be whatever the circumstances.

If, by any chance, an employee gets terminated within the probationary period, he must reimburse the full cost of his safety boots.

These rules are not meant for those departments where safety boots are provided just to fulfil uniform guidelines.


      • The amount of the voucher allotted to each employee for safety boots at the beginning of a fiscal year, is up to $125.00.
      • These vouchers are then submitted to Human Resources Department.
      • Only one voucher is meant for each employee and that should not be shared with others.
      • All the safety boots purchased through these vouchers, must undergo the minimum requirements of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
      • The supply contract of these safety boots are given to a shoe vendor, who will visit onsite and provide properly fitted boots to each worker.
      • It is the choice of the employees whether they want to be a part of this voucher program or not, but they have to meet the protective footwear requirements.
      • On October 23rd, 2017, this policy was replaced by new policies or unwritten practices but the subject remained the same.

Latest Safety Footwear Policy

The NYS Department of Transportation (New York) implemented the latest safety footwear policy for employees in 2020. This policy creates reasonable potential for foot injury for workers.

According to each program, the consultant regions shall decide by title or by assignment, the requirement to wear safety boots. This policy got effective from 1st of April 2020. Under this policy, the employees deemed eligible by Management, shall receive an annual allowance of $150 for his safety boots. For workers working in forest areas, the annual amount is $190.

→ The time limit for this annual allowance is from 1st of April to March 31st, of the next year.

→ An employee has to work for a minimum of 30 days in a month to receive reimbursement as per this program.

→ Regional Managers should consult Regional Safety Representatives regarding PPE assessments for protective footwear.

→ The Department shall provide safety boots to every eligible employee during their working hours on state contract through vendor services at DOT facilities, and that too, free of cost.

→ If any employee wants to purchase safety footwear at a higher cost than his annual allowance, then he will have to bear the extra cost.

→ The Management will verify that, the safety boots purchased by an employee independently, are appropriate and as per Department requirements or not.

→ Each employee will receive only 1 pair of approved safety boots at the price of $150 to maintain good quality.

→ It is the responsibility of the Department to replace an employees’ pair of safety boots if they get damaged as a result of work performance. But on the contrary, the Department is not at all liable for the replacement of the damaged pair, just because of negligence, misuse or loss.

→ Valid cases of replacements will be entertained with the issue of a new annual allowance to employees just 1 year from the replacement date.

→ Special cases regarding medical needs, will be considered by the Department. It is the Program Management or the Administrative Services Director or Regional Safety Representatives, who reviews and evaluates an employee’s requests.

→ An employee is given reasonable benefit of doubt concerning legitimate medical issues by the Management, prior to the fact that the employee produces proper medical documentation, if asked for.

→ Ensuring compliance by all employees to wear safety boot, is done by the Manager.

→ Progressive and corrective administrative action shall be taken against an employee if he is found in non-compliance.


When must an employer pay for steel toe boots?

When an employer allows his employees to carry their safety boots at home, then he is not bound to pay for the footwear.

On the vice versa, if the employee is not allowed to carry his footwear home by the employer, then the employer must pay for it.

What is the reimbursement policy for safety boots?

This policy is applicable for the employees who need to wear safety steel toe boots as a condition of their employment.

What are the terms of the reimbursement policy?

      • This policy cannot decide which employee needs to have safety boots during their working hours.
      • The decision rests with each Appointing Authority.
      • This policy can only look upon the factors where Appointing Authorities allow employees to purchase safety boots from a vendor of their choice.

Which PPE items are a must to be provided and paid by the employers for the safety of workers?

PPE items like gloves, steel toe boots, goggles, earplugs or muffs, hard hats and respirators are to be provided and paid by the employers.

What are the items employers do not have to pay for?

Employers do not need to bear the expense of non-essential raingear, back-belts, long pants or dust masks, used by the employees.

Do employers or employees pay for steel toe boots?

It depends on the places an employee works and also varies from country to country, region to region.

In A Nutshell:

Covering up all the information, we can reach to a conclusion that it is the employer who should take care about the safety and protection of his employees.

An employer is the person who will provide the required safety gears to the workers, when needed and that too, free.

So, the employers out there!

Just dissolve your worries.

If you go with the terms and conditions as per your Company, you will get a good pair of steel toe boots from your boss.

Grab them and be in action!

Enjoy your safety level along with your job profile.

Hopefully, this article will be helpful in curtailing an employee’s anxiety.

Allow me to return with something fresh and original.

Till then……..

Stay informed!

Stay blessed!

Stephen Luettgen
I have 12+ years of experience in construction, inspections, handy work, and currently working as a Construction Site Manager. In today’s day we spent a significant part of our time at workplace and a right work gear can have significant impact not only on your safety but also work quality.

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