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How Do You Choose Your Safety Shoes?

Views: 348     Author: zhongle     Publish Time: 2023-11-01      Origin: Site


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How Do You Choose Your Safety Shoes?

Did you know that the National Safety Council reports over 53,000 foot injuries each year, followed by a staggering 44.5 million workplace injuries caused by slips, trips, and falls in the United States alone? Each of these statistics represents a person whose life has been impacted, and it should serve as a reminder of the importance of providing workers with appropriate safety footwear.

That being said, we understand how difficult it can be to sort through the plethora of options available, decode safety standards, and determine which materials are best suited for your specific work environment. So, if you're struggling to choose the best safety footwear for your employees, this guide will provide you with valuable insights into the factors to consider and the options available, allowing you to make an informed and confident decision.

1. Recognizing Safety Shoe Standards In the European Union

The EN ISO 20345:2011 standard in Europe establishes safety shoe guidelines based on the required protection levels. According to this classification, safety shoes are divided into several classes, each with its own set of safety features:

SB (Safety Base): These shoes have a steel, composite, or aluminum toe guard. They protect against falling objects and have a tensile strength of at least 200 Joules. The heel absorbs at least 200 Joules of shock.

S1 class: These shoes are antistatic and absorb energy in the heel.

S2 class: These shoes offer increased waterproofing in addition to the features of the S1 class.

S3 class: These shoes have a hardened midsole and an antislip tread, as well as the properties of the S2 class.

S1P class: These shoes, like the S1 class, have a steel or steel-free midsole to prevent nail or other sharp object penetration.

S4 class: These shoes have the same characteristics as the S3 class, but they are entirely made of plastic, making them waterproof.

S5 class: Like the S4 class, these shoes have a hard midsole and an antislip tread.

2. What Is the Purpose of Safety Shoes?

Safety shoes are made from a variety of materials, each chosen for specific protective properties like durability, impact resistance, and comfort.

Leather is a popular choice due to its breathability and adaptability. Carpenters working in semi-controlled environments, for example, may choose leather boots, benefiting from their form-fitting nature over time. Synthetic materials, on the other hand, such as nylon or synthetic leather, are lighter and more resistant to water and chemicals. Workers in chemical plants may prefer these because they value the resistance to potential chemical spills.

When it comes to protective elements, steel toe caps are still a popular choice in industrial settings such as construction sites, where heavy objects frequently fall. In electrical environments, composite toe caps made of materials such as carbon fiber are preferred because they do not conduct electricity. Meanwhile, warehouse workers who require protection but also prefer lightweight footwear for mobility may prefer aluminum toe caps.

In terms of midsoles, EVA's cushioning properties make it ideal for healthcare workers who stand for long periods, providing comfort throughout. Polyurethane (PU) is a tough material that absorbs shocks well, making it ideal for dock workers who handle heavy cargo and navigate uneven terrain.

When it comes to outsole materials, rubber's excellent grip is invaluable for factory workers, especially if they work with oil-based machinery.TPU is especially popular in rough terrains, such as mining sites, due to its combination of resilience and strength.

Lining materials are designed for specific environments. Textile linings, due to their breathable nature, are appropriate for air-conditioned office settings, ensuring comfort throughout the day. In contrast, forestry workers may prefer GORE-TEX® boots due to their waterproof properties in wet conditions.

Memory foam is a popular choice for insoles among retail workers. They benefit from the foam adapting to their foot shape because they are on their feet for long periods. Factory workers, on the other hand, who walk on hard concrete floors, may find gel insoles more comfortable due to their improved shock absorption.

Please keep in mind that these are general suggestions, and we strongly advise you to contact our experts to find the best options for your specific circumstances.

3. How to Select the Best Model

Understanding the specific hazards faced by your workers is the key to selecting the right safety footwear, which is accomplished by conducting a thorough risk assessment, especially if your company employs a large number of employees working in a variety of settings.

You (or a designated professional) can begin by conducting an on-site inspection to identify potential hazards. These are examples:

Objects falling from the sky and/or heavy machinery

Wet and slick floors

The accumulation of static electricity

Splashes of chemicals or metals

Blades and nails are examples of sharp objects.

Objects that burn, such as molten metal or sparks

After identifying all potential hazards that your employees may face, you can conduct an audit of your current safety footwear selection to ensure that it is both appropriate and meets the most recent safety standards.

Based on your findings, you may need to source new models that meet the necessary safety standards while also taking your specific work needs and workers' preferences into account.

While you're gathering feedback from your employees, ask about their preferred shoe cut. High-cut options (such as work boots) provide additional support around the ankle and Achilles tendon, making them ideal for roles requiring stability. Low-cut styles, on the other hand, provide more ankle flexibility, making them ideal for jobs that require frequent kneeling or bending. Low-cut shoes, on the other hand, provide less Achilles tendon protection.

Finally, make sure you buy the correct size because ill-fitting shoes can cause discomfort and impair work efficiency. Choose safety shoes that do not constrict your employees' feet or press against their toes, particularly around the toe caps. Also, keep in mind that your feet can swell after a long day of work, so a little extra room is always a good idea. We recommend starting with a small group of employees and making the necessary size adjustments as needed.

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