• Sarah Munro
    Hi all,
    I am interested to see what other companies do for safety shoes.
    Do you supply shoes for your employees?
    If so do you have them sign an agreement that they will pay for the shoes if they leave the company within a certain time?
    Or do you have owning safety shoes as mandatory before you hire?
  • Andrew
    We have a catalogue. Staff get to choose whatever they like up to a certain generous $ value. Beyond that they pay the difference.

    I have loaners to cover if they don't have their own and until their boots arrive.

    They get to keep them when they leave.

    Anything beyond that is administratively costly and not worth it.
  • Amber van Polanen
    Hi Sarah,
    I am fairly certain that under the Health and Safety at Work regulations as an employer you must provide your workers with PPE if it is required. They can choose to supply their own if it meets the standards however the business can't legally pass the cost of this on to their employees.
    These links should help:

    We do the same as Andrew- they are given a catalogue of options to choose from provided by us with a pretty generous budget.
  • Stephen Small
    We are the same as @Amber van Polanen - not all feet are the same fit, so we need to have options.
    (due to industry rules there are some shoes/boots that are not acceptable for our use).

    Safety footwear is costly to recycle (have we thought about how we sanitise them to remove biological hazards such as keratolysis, tinea, warts etc?) compared to buying new.
  • Don Ramsay
    We just supply them then give an allowance each year to cover replacement, as for leaving we just let them keep the shoes regardless of time worked. As they are no use to anyone else.
  • Jade
    We give staff a purchase order so they can go into NZ Safety Blackwoods to try them on and pick what they like - up to the value of $200. I know a few businesses who do exactly that.

    If you require safety footwear, as others have mentioned, you cannot ask staff to pay for this or supply it. If they want something above the specified amount, they can pay the difference, though.
  • Kathy Froy
    We have a list of about 10 styles available to our staff, which we buy in. If anyone doesn't find something suitable on the list we give them a purchase order to take to NZ Safety and choose in store, with them paying the extra if needed. Some of our staff wear their shoes out more quickly (6month, working in manufacturing with large pieces of machinery) but others can make theirs last (2yrs). We just say if it's visibly worn, we'll replace. We have compulsory safety footwear, and our staff are on their feet a lot, so it's important to ensure that they are comfortable. We don't ask for them back if they leave, but we do have quite good staff retention.
  • rebecca telfer
    All our employees that require safety footwear for their role are allocated 1 pair of shoes/boots a year. I do have certain criterias of shoes depending on their roles (such as no slip on boots for our technicians due to the amount of time they are getting in and out of vehicles). We have a capped value and if they want a certain pair of footwear over and above that amount, then they pay the difference (which doesn't happen that often). And No I would not ask for them back if they leave before the next annual allowance, they are most welcome to them
  • Sarah Kay
    We spend 200-250 on boots for our staff, they get a lot of wear up and down the country on rugged terrain so generally last about a year. We definitely do not ask for money back if they leave, they are of no use to us. We do however get a percentage back in external training costs if they haven't been here long
  • Mike Massaar
    You are legally obliged to supply and pay for the PPE, no matter if workers are permanent, temporary or casual. You shouldn't give allowances as you won't know that people use it for proper footwear. We don't seek partial reimbursement if people leave, it's just part of the cost of the work and having a safe workforce.
  • Tim Beach
    Something additional, a number of years ago I investigated the reasons why Safety Footwear needing replacing. A major reason was comfort, with innersoles wearing out being the main issue, so we provided replacement innersoles as needed. In doing this the footwear replacement period extended by an average of 50%, reducing the overall footwear costs significantly.
  • Yonny Yeung
    I have seen some temporary staff agencies charge their temporary staff for it. Those $75 pairs they source are not very comfortable to wear standing up all day. People find out after working in them all day. They are welcome to buy their own lace up, above ankle height boots, the more comfortable ones are at the $150-$250 mark. The lace up, above ankle height boots requirement reduces ankle injuries.

    We have a few of our own staff and even temporary staff from agencies forget their boots at the start of the day. As we only stock the $230 ones, it's a pain at the end of the day, because they might only work with us for one day, but we can't put them back into the box for the next person. So they take them home, or they leave them above the lockers to gather dust, thinking the company will take them back, or they can be reused for the next person.

    Then we have to buy more to replenish stock, and the same staff member forgets to bring their boots again. We have lockers they can store their boots in, and we have also mentioned storing the spare pair in their vehicle might not be a silly idea. But this just keeps happening.

    Eventually we have to implement a 6 month lifetime policy. We require staff to bring back the old pair for evidence if they require replacement less than six months interval. The constant getting them wet and not dry them overnight causes the water to break down the uppers, causing cracks and water enters the boot.

    We found the wheat coloured leather do not last as long as the black ones, with or without a waterproofing coating spray applied. Some staff prefer the wheat coloured ones, as that seems to be the trend right now. Maybe influenced by Australia, as most boots over there are wheat coloured.

    I have started a trial with the Oliver waterproof upper boots with another staff member last year, and they have lasted over 11 months so far, wearing them five days a week and getting them wet almost daily (washing truck at the end of the day). So the extra $20 for them is definitely worth it, as his previous pairs only last for six months.
  • MattD2
    We do however get a percentage back in external training costs if they haven't been here longSarah Kay
    If that external training is required by the company to provide information/instruction for the safe use of tools/equipment/substances/etc. to do their work safely, I would expect that would also be covered under S27 and you should not be recovering any cost of that training if an employee leaves shortly after being trained.
    If it is skills/professional development training then nicely no issue, but S27 relates to "...anything done, or provided, in relation to health and safety", so would include safety training.
  • Robb
    Some interesting approaches to providing PPE. Can someone please point me in the direction of the HSWA Regulations that say it is legal to ask employees to contribute (money) to providing PPE when PPE is required - Maybe I've missed it
  • Steve H
    Some interesting approaches to providing PPE. Can someone please point me in the direction of the HSWA Regulations that say it is legal to ask employees to contribute (money) to providing PPE when PPE is required - Maybe I've missed itRobb

    Their employer has done a risk assessment, decided on the basis of that to require their employees to wear safety shoes and decided on some options that will meet their requirements and will provide any of these options FOC to employees- there by meeting HSWA requirements.

    If for whatever reason said employee wants something different, employer contributes up to their level, $200(say) and employee pays the difference. If said employee feels that employers $200 boots don't provide a sufficient level of safety, then their option to raise the matter with their H&S Rep, etc. but can't see "I don't like the supplied style, colour etc" working, but sizing could be an issue which could see the employer paying full amount (if boots had to be specially made, or to cater for a disability etc).
  • Robb

    Thanks, Steve - I understood all that.
    My question is simple - in what regulation is it written for a company to part charge their employee for PPE?.
  • Steve H
    There isn't one Rob, but neither is there a requirement for an open ended value for given PPe
  • MattD2
    Some interesting approaches to providing PPE. Can someone please point me in the direction of the HSWA Regulations that say it is legal to ask employees to contribute (money) to providing PPE when PPE is required - Maybe I've missed itRobb
    I would say this is a case of a combination of a couple of regulations effectively allowing this situation to be legal:
    1. The worker has a duty under S45 to comply with the reasonable instruction to wear safety boots while working.
    2. Under R15 / R17 of the general workplace regulations the company must provide the worker with work boots while working, and that the work boots are of a suitable size and fit and reasonably comfortable for the worker.
    3. Under R16 the worker may choose to provide their own work boots if they do not want to use the company supplied ones.

    This leads to it being acceptable for a company to either offer a selection of (previously determined reasonably comfortable) work boots for the worker to choose from, or the option to purchase any work boots up to a certain limit (being a $ value that should allow the purchased comfortable work boots in any reasonable situation) - so this covers R15 / R17 for the company.
    If the worker wants to choose to wear another type of work boot that is outside of the above criteria they are free to supply their own (suitable) work boots under R16 (with no obligation for the company to cover any of the cost of these work boots as long as the decision to supply their own is genuine and made voluntarily).
    A lot of companies will cover the cost up until what they would have spent on the work boots if they had provided them as an act of goodwill (and potentially also as evidence that the worker's decision to supply their own work boots is in fact truly genuine and voluntary).
    It would be a rare case where a worker could claimed that they couldn't find a pair of comfortable work boots for the $200 that seems to be the common contribution, but as @Steve H mentioned there may be special cases where the work boots may need to be special ordered.
  • Alex
    We have a combination of field staff and office staff who may visit sites occasionally. The office staff are given a purchase order to go down to Blackwoods to choose a pair. The field staff are different in that their boots need to be electrically rated and tested so they generally get 2 pairs per year so one pair will always be in test. They will also be given gumboots (standard or dielectric) depending on their role.

    As far as I am aware noone is asked to pay for boots if they leave early and boots are kept
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