Safety footwear is imperative if there’s any risk of injury to your feet while you are at work. But when it comes to safety footwear it’s definitely not a case of one-size-fits-all. The type of safety shoes or boots you’ll need will be dictated by your working environment – if you work with heavy loads, equipment or machinery it’s likely that you’ll need boots that feature a robust toecap to protect your feet. Or perhaps you need protection from dangerous substances, electrostatic discharge or slippery surfaces.
Identifying your safety footwear requirements
Ask yourself the following questions when it comes to deciding which safety footwear is right for you:
- Do I need a heat resistant sole that can withstand temperatures up to 300°C?
You’ll need footwear with an HRO classification. That means the outsole of the shoe or boot is resistant to hot contact.
- Is there a risk of heavy or sharp objects piercing the sole and going into my foot?
Look for footwear with a P classification that indicates penetration resistance, or those with an S3 or S5 classification. Although all safety footwear conforming to EN20345 must have a 200J toecap, you need to make sure the shoes or boots you buy offer adequate protection for your specific role.
- Do you require ankle protection?
Shoes, and even some boots, won’t offer adequate ankle protection, so you should consider if this is important to you and your job role to avoid ankle injuries.
- Does your footwear need anti-static properties?
When looking for boots or shoes with anti-static properties, they should have an A classification. Footwear classified in S1 and above will also be antistatic. For higher levels of static electricity protection, look for the ESD symbol.
- Does your footwear need to protect your feet against chemicals?
Look for classifications that indicate which chemicals the footwear is tested to be resistant against, as well as the chemical permeation resistance level (between Level 1 and Level 5), which indicates how many minutes the footwear is tested resistant for.
- Do you work with chainsaws and need special protection?
Choose a boot that has been specifically designed for this risky working environment. Do not be persuaded that any old safety boot will be up to the demands of this job. Insist that the footwear is correctly specified for your task.
- Do your feet need insulating against the heat or cold?
Look for footwear indicated with HI (insulated against heat) or CI (insulated against cold). WR indicates a boot or shoe that is water resistant.
- Do you work in the food industry?
Go for hygiene footwear featuring washable footbeds and slip resistant soles.
Footwear classifications and standards
The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations require employers to supply safety footwear to those working in hazardous environments. Assessments are essential to ensure that hazards are eliminated or protected against where it is not possible to eliminate them.
All safety footwear should be classified and marked to one of the industry standards and conform to the European Standards EN345, EN ISO 20345 or EN346, which every boot in the Contego range does. To decipher the codes used in grading safety footwear, take a look at our product buying guide.
Wearing the right safety footwear for the job will protect your feet and literally keep you on them. But also make sure your safety footwear fits you properly, as this will avoid common foot problems.
Find out more about Contego Safety Solutions’ extensive range by downloading the Contego Catalogue now, visiting our website www.contegosafety.co.uk or contacting our friendly team on 0800 122 3323 or firstname.lastname@example.org.