By Jayden Mark
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for regulating your safety in the workplace. One of the requirements for many professions is that you wear protective safety boots. There are several ways that boots can protect your feet. One of the most common of these are steel toe boots and this is what we’ll be discussing here.
What are Steel Toe Boots?
The basic definition of steel toe boots is self-explanatory. These are safety boots with a steel toe cap to protect your feet from being crushed, cut, or pinched. The steel toe cap is covered by leather or some other type of durable material.
They are used when people work in an environment where they could be exposed to danger from any of the following:
What Type of Protection Do Steel Toe Boots Provide?
A good quality steel toe safety boot should be rated for an ASTM 75 foot-pound compression resistance. This means that the boot can withstand a weight of 2,500 LBS. This is roughly the same weight as a compact car or a warehouse forklift.
Protection from falling objects will depend on the height from which an object falls. As height increases, the weight that a steel toe boot can safely withstand decreases.
Who Should Wear Steel Toe Boots?
Anyone working in an industry that places you at risk from falling objects and crushing from machinery should wear the requisite PPE. This would include steel toe boots or some other type of protective footwear. Typically, the following jobs would require steel toe boots:
While these are the most common jobs where steel toe safety boots are required, there are many others who can benefit from wearing protective footwear. If you feel that you may be at risk from damage to your feet, it would be advisable to use the appropriate protection.
One of the issues relating to wearing steel toe boots is discomfort and fatigue. Since you’re going to be spending many hours in your boots and are required to work hard whilst doing so, it is really important that find boots that fit perfectly.
Finding the Right Size Boot
A boot that is too large will cause abrasion of your feet, resulting in blisters and general discomfort. Conversely, boots that are too tight will compress the feet and will result in foot pain and fatigue.
Most people have one foot that is slightly larger. For this reason, you should fit both feet and ensure that the boot fits comfortably on the largest foot. Also ensure that the boot fits properly around ball and heel of your foot.
Walk the Walk
You will know for sure if a boot fits well after walking in them for a while. Some boots may not work for the way you walk or the shape of your foot. They may also be too stiff around the ankles. Take some time to walk in the boots. Flex your feet and make sure they have the flexibility to accommodate the physical activity that you perform in your daily working routine.
Check for Quality
Since you’re going to expect your boots to work as hard as you do, ensure that they are of a high quality standard. Generally, work boots are made from leather, with a steel toe cap beneath the outer layer.
Thick leather with a protective coating is the best. They may also have a waterproof layer that can be beneficial if you work in situations where moisture can be problematic. Safety boots should have a good amount of soft padding to make them more comfortable. This can sometimes be a weak point as the padding could wear before the rest of the boot. Feel for firm, strong padding that can handle harsh conditions. Other important aspect to check are stitching, studs, and rivets.
It’s usually a good idea to buy safety boots from a brand with a good reputation for design and quality. This will provide great peace of mind as you have the reassurance that the boots you are buying have been tried and tested, earning a reputation for top quality.