Case 97 - Receptionist enquired if change in footwear policy was a result of new health and safety guidelines


Receptionists have been told they have to wear safety footwear - steel/plastic capped work shoes to work on reception. Their duties include: answering phones, post, errands, computer use. The enquirer wanted to know if this change in policy was as a result of any new health and safety office guidelines.

Panel decision

There have been no new HSE guidelines issued which go into the specifics of what safety footwear should be worn or where. Whether or not protective footwear is required should be assessed on the basis of risk and this has to be done in the individual workplace. If the employer has recently changed their policy, this should have been properly discussed with employees including explaining the reasons for the change.