Welcome Guest! The IOSH forums are a free resource to both members and non-members. Login or register to use them

Postings made by forum users are personal opinions. IOSH is not responsible for the content or accuracy of any of the information contained in forum postings. Please carefully consider any advice you receive.

Notification

Icon
Error

Options
Go to last post Go to first unread
Stephen Hill  
#1 Posted : 18 October 2019 12:57:17(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Stephen Hill

I currently work for an heating company as an QHSE Advisor, the companies role is very varied, depending on the contact and the operatives working environments can very different (domestic and commercial properies).

We have taken another look at our policy for the issing of safety footwear and how we implement this and also the inforcement of the policy. We do not work in (Full) construction sites but most of our installations do full under CDM and in these environments we insist that safety shoes to be worn at all times, we do have an ongoing problem of how to inforce the use of safety footwear as some operatives come back with old arguments as to why they do not wear..

  • When i am in my van , no need to wear then!
  • Not comfortable to be wearing them all day!
  • Clients dont like us wearing safety shoes in the homes!

These statements i believe do have some merit but not generally in the working environment, our process at the moment is that when new operatives are inducted they are instructed about many safety aspects (including PPE) and are issued a screwfix voucher for £30 for the purchuse of suitable safety shoes, we do not stipulate make or type , only that they have toe protection as a minimum, the next checks that are done are on a monthly basis when their vehicles are inspected, we do have some supervisors (not all departments) that conduct Work In Progress inspections. I have recently approached my Manager to review this process as I believe the issuing of vouchers is a grey area, and i'm sure is not compliant with the PPE regulations. 

I am looking for others views on this situation and am looking for their observation and experience on this matter within their own work enviroment.

Ian Bell2  
#2 Posted : 18 October 2019 13:16:33(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Ian Bell2

Pretty lame excuese, as ever for not wearing safety shoes.

While I would agree you don't need heavy industry footwear, there are plenty of options available in 'normal' footwear that is 'stylish' nd not too heavy and still give adequate protection for the type of work that your lads probably undertake.

£30 seems a bit low to me, looking at footwear cataloguesj5TK 

thanks 1 user thanked Ian Bell2 for this useful post.
Stephen Hill on 18/10/2019(UTC)
Connor35037  
#3 Posted : 18 October 2019 14:50:53(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Connor35037

You could consider supplying disposable overshoes for use when in clients' homes.

thanks 1 user thanked Connor35037 for this useful post.
Stephen Hill on 18/10/2019(UTC)
Roundtuit  
#4 Posted : 18 October 2019 17:00:33(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Toe cap boots are not suitable footwear for driving - the ankle support and/or steel mid-soles make it uncomfortable particularly in manual transmission (clutch) vehicles.

Toe caps are also uncomfortable after time and should be rotated.

They need toe caps, not necessarily mid-sole protection so why not try the newer composite caps in a trainer style?

Cable, telecoms and other major contractors do use plastic overshoes for domestic vists

£30 is cheap - PPE when required should be suitable not to a price point.

taps  
#5 Posted : 18 October 2019 20:22:27(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
taps

Hi all, sorry if this seems the same old story, but can you explain why giving your staff £30 to purchase their boots does not break section 9 HASAW and if the employee adds to the voucher price he/she is not being levied, and how we can be sure that the standard of the footwear purchased by the employee by adding to the voucher meets the recommendations/controls within our risk assessments, ie wear footwear to The EN Standards

Duty not to charge employees for things done or provided pursuant to certain specific requirements.

No employer shall levy or permit to be levied on any employee of his any charge in respect of anything done or provided in pursuance of any specific requirement of the relevant statutory provisions.

Regards

Taps

CptBeaky  
#6 Posted : 21 October 2019 08:24:37(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
CptBeaky

Originally Posted by: taps Go to Quoted Post

Hi all, sorry if this seems the same old story, but can you explain why giving your staff £30 to purchase their boots does not break section 9 HASAW and if the employee adds to the voucher price he/she is not being levied, and how we can be sure that the standard of the footwear purchased by the employee by adding to the voucher meets the recommendations/controls within our risk assessments, ie wear footwear to The EN Standards

The alternative is to force people to wear footwear of your choice. We also offer a £30 reduction on safety footwear. We have over 40 suitable pairs available for £30 or less on our notice board. However, as with all things, people always want the latest fashion etc. Therefore they often want a pair costing in excess of £60. Do you suggest we spend this on them, despite there being suitable cheaper alternatives? Where would you draw the line. If someone wants a £200 pair, is that ok?

Disclaimer, if somebody has a genuine medical reason as to why they would need a more expensive pair, we pay the full amount. We have two people in our factory that this applies to at the moment.

thanks 1 user thanked CptBeaky for this useful post.
Martin Fieldingt on 23/10/2019(UTC)
jmaclaughlin  
#7 Posted : 21 October 2019 09:13:14(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
jmaclaughlin

>Not comfortable to be wearing them all day!

I use the V12 range Otter/Bison/Rhino/Ibex £35 - £50, comfortable all day (14hrs door to door), used to walk 5miles per day on ballast(sharp stones) lasted me up to 1 year.

You do need to look after them though, clean and regular dubbing at least once a week.

taps  
#8 Posted : 23 October 2019 06:24:08(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
taps

Thanks for your reply Cpt Beaky, I'm still trying to work out how this does not breach S9, I fully understand that it would be (possibly) unreasonable to provide £200 boots for all, it is the fact that they are being "levied" if they add to the £30.00.

I am dealing with an issue were the empoyee has been diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis by his Doctor, due to the fact that they stand as part of their job role, 8hrs a day, one of the solutions I have suggested is that the employee is sent to a podiatrist to have inserts made for his footwear, HR are adamant that it his problem and should pay himself, she suggested that Poundland sell them, if that is within his price range.

How do I convince her to change her mind.

Taps

mihai_qa  
#9 Posted : 23 October 2019 07:04:10(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
mihai_qa

Originally Posted by: taps Go to Quoted Post

How do I convince her to change her mind.

Taps

Suggest to her that the worker might claim if his condition deteriorates. That might change her tune.

CptBeaky  
#10 Posted : 23 October 2019 08:14:16(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
CptBeaky

Originally Posted by: taps Go to Quoted Post

I am dealing with an issue were the empoyee has been diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis by his Doctor, due to the fact that they stand as part of their job role, 8hrs a day, one of the solutions I have suggested is that the employee is sent to a podiatrist to have inserts made for his footwear, HR are adamant that it his problem and should pay himself, she suggested that Poundland sell them, if that is within his price range.

How do I convince her to change her mind.

Taps

As far as I am aware this would come under "reasonable adjustments" as well as "S9". Your employer has to make reasonable adjustments to cater for any health issues that you have. And it would be hard to argue purchasing inserts for a medical condition is not reasonable.

You cannot charge for any equipment that an employee needs to carry out their work safely. In your employees case, they need the inserts to carry out their work in a way that does not negatively affect their health.

In regards to the £30. As long as an employer can supply suitable PPE for that price or less they are not "charging" their employee. There are no laws forbidding employees from voluntarily purchasing their own PPE. If there were no suitable safety footwear options for that employee at £30 or less, then the employer must offer a suitable pair and meet the cost.

Hsquared14  
#11 Posted : 23 October 2019 13:27:57(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Hsquared14

To address the original post then here is my view:

  • Safety shoes aren't comfortable to drive in and can cause painful ankle joints and insteps,  I have informed our drivers not to wear them when driving but to put them on for deliveries - they seem happy with that
  • Clients don't like them wearing them in the house, is that because they are dirty?  If so issue shoe covers to keep carpets clean

Most issues can be solved if you are prepared to listen to what is really the problem.  Mind you I do draw the line at one of our people who picked a pair of shoes from the catalogue and then didn't like the look of them when they were delivered, this isn't a fashion magazine it's safety at work!!

Inserts for plantar fascitis as raised by Taps - these have to be made individually for each person based on the exact tendon giving the problem and that person's gait, so ones from Poundshop (what????) are not suitable.  Your HR person needs a dose of the real world here and needs to get her facts straight with regard to UK law in line with H&S at work and the Equality Act - mind well and truly boggled!!

thanks 4 users thanked Hsquared14 for this useful post.
Natasha.Graham on 23/10/2019(UTC), Martin Fieldingt on 23/10/2019(UTC), mihai_qa on 24/10/2019(UTC), SJP on 24/10/2019(UTC)
craigroberts76  
#12 Posted : 23 October 2019 14:58:03(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
craigroberts76

we buy the screwfix marble boots, these are toe tectors and mid sole with decent grip.  Techs dont wear them whilst driving which is ok.  The problem with the trainer boots in construction is that its hard to tell if they are boots or general trainers, so site managers inside on boot style only.  Over shoes are find for indoor use, but as them the question that if they dont wear them in the clients home, who would be to blame if something breaks their toe.  The answer is the employer, therefore the employer needs protecting, hence boots are required.

If techs want to pay towards better boots then they can, but the ones chosen are more than suitable.

Roundtuit  
#13 Posted : 23 October 2019 20:24:43(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

One style is not a choice - you are sailing close to the wind if you have a single boot to choose from and everything else is an employee surcharge.

A tool supplier is also not necessarily the best source for PPE especially with the change in the directive placing responsibility upon the market supplier rather than the manufacturer for compliance to standards.

Whose name appears on the declaration slip in the box?

craigroberts76  
#14 Posted : 24 October 2019 07:45:38(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
craigroberts76

if a boot has been tested and is deemed as suitable for workers who do not have any conditions we are aware of, surely there is no need for a "personal" choice, some like tan, some like black, but they have no choice over company uniform colour so why boots?  As long as we have evidence to show that it is suitable for the wearer, surely thats sufficient?

thanks 1 user thanked craigroberts76 for this useful post.
jwk on 24/10/2019(UTC)
Roundtuit  
#15 Posted : 24 October 2019 09:46:51(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Taking a 10.5G shoe (not particularly large or uncommon size) means I do not always fit in a lot of "standard" safety footwear - the toe cap is formed too narrow so I end up with my toes being pinched and rubbed if I select my actual size OR I have to wear a couple of sizes too large and end up flapping around.

Problem is if my toes are not within the toe cap am I getting the designed and intended protection?

From experience over size boots also rub across the top of the foot and have a tendency to crease and fail more quickly than correctly fitting footwear.

Suitability for all PPE is in the protection and comfort of the wearer not a documented specification for the boot.

So yes keep a uniform colour in two or three choices - just remember like their owners all feet are different.

achrn  
#16 Posted : 24 October 2019 10:57:39(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
achrn

Originally Posted by: craigroberts76 Go to Quoted Post

if a boot has been tested and is deemed as suitable for workers who do not have any conditions we are aware of, surely there is no need for a "personal" choice, some like tan, some like black, but they have no choice over company uniform colour so why boots?  As long as we have evidence to show that it is suitable for the wearer, surely thats sufficient?

I think you're arguing with a straw man.  I have never had a case of someone objecting to compnay issued PPE just for a different colour, and if your staff are rejecting safety boots because of the colour, I suggest there's something else very wrong in your business that needs uncovering.

Not everyone's feet are the same shape, you know.  A badly fitting pair of boots can make a mess of your feet (but a badly fitting shirt is unlikely to cause you phyical harm).

craigroberts76  
#17 Posted : 24 October 2019 13:30:28(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
craigroberts76

so how do  you guys go about boots? we have apx 1-2 new starters a week in various sizes.  Do you get them to go to a screw fix and try on, give them the company donatation towards them? we obviously cant keep 5 sizes in 3 different styles in stock all the time.

Roundtuit  
#18 Posted : 24 October 2019 13:51:13(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

If that particular outlet is your chosen provider have two or three style options from their catalogue as "paid for" by employer - either voucher or by purchase order / account on the day they visit - then set your rules on other matters e.g. no brown boots, no trainer look alikes, no riggers etc.. if it costs more than the standard choice you pay the difference....

There are other national providers with whom similar arrangements can be made.

Our employees choose from a national supplier catalogue where we have two shoes / two trainers / three ankle boots marked as free of charge for men and women - anything else is charged (when more expensive)

Hsquared14  
#19 Posted : 24 October 2019 13:53:16(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Hsquared14

Just to clarify Roundtuits post - safety footwear does not come in half sizes and this is I think what causes the majority of problems.  For someone whose foot measures in at a half size then the shoe will either be too big if you go up the size range or too small if you go down it.

achrn  
#20 Posted : 24 October 2019 14:25:46(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
achrn

Originally Posted by: craigroberts76 Go to Quoted Post

so how do  you guys go about boots? we have apx 1-2 new starters a week in various sizes.  Do you get them to go to a screw fix and try on, give them the company donatation towards them? we obviously cant keep 5 sizes in 3 different styles in stock all the time.

We keep a number of sizes (I think more than 5 - some of our young female starts have tiny feet, and some of the big male starts appear to be equipped with flippers).  We don't have three styles in many of them, but we have multiple styles in most of them.

Why is it obvious you can't do that?

If someone doesn't like any of the stock, they have two choices:

1: Pick anything they like from two supplier's catalogues, provided they meet the performance spec (lace-up boots S3 plus a few other requirements).  They have to contribute anything over £60.

2: Source their own, and put in an expenses claim for up to £60.

Since we changed over to holding a choice in each size, hardly anyone takes these options, however (though I do).

Edited by user 24 October 2019 14:26:53(UTC)  | Reason: spelling

Users browsing this topic
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.