Steel toe while climbing?

CanaryBoss

Active Member
#1
I have always required my climbers to have steel toe boots. I was always under the impression it was an OSHA requirement. We recently had a volunteer OSHA inspection and the inspector could not answer whether or not it was a requirement. It’s a lot easier to climb without them in my opinion. I have had quite a few climbers over the years that have been upset that I required steel toe. Does anybody know what the actual letter of the law is on this?
 

CanaryBoss

Active Member
#4
An example is that you are required to wear a chainsaw chaps on the ground using a saw, and while in the tree you’re allowed to not wear them because they could pose more of a safety risk if they were to get caught on something your rigging. I’m trying to figure if the same rules apply?
 

colb

Well-Known Member
#5
In Canada we are required to wear steel toes. Composite toes don't help much with chainsaws
I think chainsaw protection in boots should be through the cog-binding fibers only. A steel toe doesn't protect much of the boot... Because the forces placed on a foot during a rigging emergency vary so much in their order of magnitude, I think it is pragmatic to have a toe that will collapse onto the foot without cutting it off, which is perhaps a vote for ceramic toes?
 

southsoundtree

Well-Known Member
#6
Ceramic toes protect maybe 20% of the foot. The real deal is making sure nobody is getting into that situation in the first place, through rushing, being undertrained, sick at work, overheated, etc.

Only have one self-rescue situation. Guy was feeling woozy on a hot day, probably dehydrated. He had fall-arrest in his climbing system, so was never really at any risk, and lowered out without problem. Self-rescue is a big stretch of a term, there.


PPE, the LAST line of defense!
 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
#8
Exactly:

@southsoundtree

The real deal is making sure nobody is getting into that situation in the first place, through rushing, being undertrained, sick at work, overheated, etc.

After watching Mythbusters do their job on steel toes...and reading other sources...I will only depend on toe caps made from Unobtanium.
 

ATH

Well-Known Member
#10
I agree! BUT, what is the law? Anybody know the federal regulations?
Well...what is the OSHA guide for tree care? They don't have one, right. So they fall back to "Industry standards" which would be the ANSI Z133.

I'm not claiming comprehensive knowledge, but this is all I see of footwear:

3.3.7 "Clothing and footwear appropriate to the know worksite hazards shall be approved by the employer and worn by the employee."

Steel toes are not even required for logging operations, last I knew. I don't think they provide much, if any, benefit IN the tree. However, I do use them on the ground if doing more than a few cuts.

So, in short: not required (unless you think they are).
 
#11
Thanks for the info. I hate the “interpretation” they leave. I’m always afraid my understanding could be different than an enforcement officer. Nonetheless, it’s arguable, which I would do if necessary.
 
#12
I don’t mind my steel toes. Kicking things into place or kicking a chock block out, working around a mini loader, they really don’t bother me. Actually I have had steel toes for pretty much 20 years (except one pair I bought recently on accident) and I tend to stub my toes when working without steel. Sure it sounds stupid, but I’ll roll a piece wood onto my foot to get my hands under it, tip it up on my toe to get it onto my knee. I can’t really think of an incident I have had in the tree where steel toes have prevented anything, but I’m certainly not going to be changing my shoes every time I get out of the tree.
ATH posted the only verbiage I know of about the subject. But that said OSHA probably has some vague verbiage buried in a vague standard that may or may not apply to one or more positions on our crews... depending on the equipment used, phase of the moon or what’s side of the bed the inspector woke up on that particular morning.
 
#14
I don’t mind my steel toes. Kicking things into place or kicking a chock block out, working around a mini loader, they really don’t bother me. Actually I have had steel toes for pretty much 20 years (except one pair I bought recently on accident) and I tend to stub my toes when working without steel. Sure it sounds stupid, but I’ll roll a piece wood onto my foot to get my hands under it, tip it up on my toe to get it onto my knee
I started wearing steel toes after some idiot I was working with threw the wedge piece from a face cut at the chipper and bounced off the feed wheels. The point of the piece hit my boot breaking my pinkie toe. A freak accident and actually a steel toe didn't quite cover where the injury happened so it may not have prevented that particular incident but it made me appreciate how fragile and exposed toes are.
 
#15
I had a guy get a thorn from a canary palm go through the front of his boot and break off under a toe nail. Ouch! And we were just trimming palms. Who would have thought we needed steel toe?
I’ve also had guys try to skate with tennis shoe steel toes. Until I had a log come out of a mini grapple, roll, and hairline fracture one of my guys legs, I allowed it. Not anymore.
 

Stephen Moore

Well-Known Member
#17
I have always required my climbers to have steel toe boots. I was always under the impression it was an OSHA requirement. We recently had a volunteer OSHA inspection and the inspector could not answer whether or not it was a requirement. It’s a lot easier to climb without them in my opinion. I have had quite a few climbers over the years that have been upset that I required steel toe. Does anybody know what the actual letter of the law is on this?
In our area, steel toes are a non issue. Most logging boots are not made with steel toe. Furthermore, the likelihood of them actually doing anything to make your foot safer is pretty remote. Most strikes by saw happen to the side of the foot.
 

ATH

Well-Known Member
#18
Doesn't anybody else get feet wedged into tight crotches? Am I the only klutz? How do you tennis shoe climbers handle that?
I've tried to climb with steel toes and found my foot getting stuck MORE often. Maybe just the technique we develop (Trango and Arbpro climbing boots...no tennis shoes)
 
#19
Doesn't anybody else get feet wedged into tight crotches? Am I the only klutz? How do you tennis shoe climbers handle that?
My feet get stuck all the time with either steel or non steel. Normally the steel toe boots also have a harder sole which helps to prevent the pain from a stuck foot. But they get stuck none the less.

I've tried to climb with steel toes and found my foot getting stuck MORE often. Maybe just the technique we develop (Trango and Arbpro climbing boots...no tennis shoes)
There is an art to it. I don’t find non steel toes getting stuck any less but I do see a difference in how I move through a tree, where I put my feet and how I place them. Mainly to prevent the squishing pain from jamming my slippers (non steel toe shoes) into a crotch. We do a lot of river birch and red maple reduction so the pain is real!
 
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