By Jayden Mark
No matter what part of the globe you reside, there are safety and health regulations that require safety footwear to be worn in hazardous working environments. This is because while industries and management takes all precaution to cut down hazards and risks at the workplace, no single environment is truly free from hazards. Employees and workers need extra protection from conditions such as slippery surfaces, sharp objects, chemical spills, temperature extremes and industries that require sterile conditions.
As such, it is very important to secure an appropriate work boot for the job. However, it is not only the safety features that should be considered alone; additional qualities like style, comfort and support are also very important. You could be well protected from sudden impact by a sturdy steel toe, but the shoe is useless if it rubs you the wrong way. Having already established the importance of wearing appropriate safety footwear, the real challenge now becomes choosing one that fits all your criteria. Here are some of the key areas to consider when choosing your very own pair of safety boots.
Whether you are involved in the operation of heavy construction machinery or the repair of electrical and telephone poles, all industrial jobs pose their own unique set of hazards that have to be dealt with. Ensuring you have the right pair of safety boots is key to making it through your shift without losing life and limb. However, you should know that certain types of safety footwear are more appropriate for particular job types. Safety toe caps are probably the most preferred form of protection in industries where the risk of falling or crushing objects is present. You can also include metatarsal protection as well as puncture resistance if you feel there may be danger lurking from below. The more safety features your work boot has, the higher the chance of being protected in the event of an accident.
Keeping in mind what role your safety footwear will play will help you get the right one. With an incredible range of different types of work shoes available, it’s all about figuring out what it is that you need assistance with. If you work in an office or executive environment, then it wouldn’t make sense to buy knee high work boots. You might be more suited going for smart safety work boots, safety sneakers or even other casual and formal footwear. However, our friends over at the construction industry won’t have any use for casual wear. Only the hardiest, toughest and gruffest safety footwear will do. If you work in wet, muddy and slippery conditions, selecting footwear with plenty of grip and slip resistance will serve you very well.
Think about it; you spend a very large percentage of your life at the workplace. From early morning to late evening, and at times taking up an extra shift or two. Since your work boots are worn almost daily in brutal conditions that could make short work of any PPE, it is of the utmost importance to go for footwear that offers an extremely long life span. Wearing the appropriate shoe for the risk will help improve longevity since the shoe was designed to handle that specific hazard. Ensure that you also go for recognized and trusted brands with footwear that has stood the test of time.
Comfort and Fit
No matter what features your shoe has or what conditions you will be exposed to all day, one fact still remains true. Every person requires a shoe that is comfortable and offers superb fit. As we have already established, you are going to be wearing your safety footwear for extended periods at a time. Therefore, the shoes will need to be comfortable, supportive and fit your feet like a charm. Getting the fit wrong could mean wearing a shoe that is either too small or too large. If you want to avoid blisters, corns and squeezed toes, ensure you feel as natural and as comfortable as possible.
The lighter and more compact your work boot is, the less the energy required to lift your feet off the ground. For workers who spend hours on end standing or walking about, the weight does play a crucial role to how you feel at the end of the day. Safety footwear made from composite materials offers less weight to deal with as opposed to metallic protective plates. However, make sure that your job does not require a steel plated boot before you throw it out.
If your job entails working outside or in conditions where you will have to bear the elements, it is worth having safety footwear that creates an active barrier between your feet ant the weather. Weatherproofing involves choosing boots with waterproof uppers and insulation that keeps the feet warm and safe. Allowing water and cold to seep in your boots is not only uncomfortable, but it can have dire effects on your feet and well being. Weatherproof boots help prevent the buildup of fungus, foot rot, mold as well as bad foot odors.
Just because the government requires your safety boots to conform to regulations doesn’t mean that you should compromise on style and personal preference. Fortunately, the current footwear market is vibrant with an extensive array of stylish yet protective work boots. This means that workers can now choose different styles, colors, designs and a whole lot of exciting features to add flair to their look. Ladies also have specialized boots that are designed for protection while still looking great on the job.
if you work in a factory with the risk of loose nails and sharp objects, then buying your boot according to ankle protection or waterproof uppers may not really be appropriate for the risk. Taking the extra time to know what you need could mean all the difference between a well-protected foot and an amputation just waiting to happen. Here’s how to choose safety boots according to the risk your job poses.
Like many employees, your job probably entails working with flammable substances, explosives or highly reactive components. Unlike electricians, people who work in such environments should look for shoes with as much electrical conductivity as possible. This is because electrically conductive shoes help prevent a massive buildup of static electricity on the worker. Without such conductive footwear, the static buildup on any part of your body could easily create a spark that could ignite one heck of an explosion. Workers in such environments should also avoid nylon, silk and wool socks that produce the most static.
Sharp Objects and Blades
Whether you are working with chainsaws or walking through a site with sharp objects like screws and nails, it is very important to look for a particular type of safety footwear designed for the job. Nails will definitely puncture through the soles of regular boots and severely injure your foot. Puncture resistant footwear is paramount in such an environment since the steel or composite plate found in the midsole will prevent anything from breaching your foot. However, spinning blades and chainsaws pose a danger of attacking from all sides. A steel plate alone will simply not do. In such a case, go for cut resistant chainsaw boots that create a protective barrier around the entire foot to protect against cuts.
Falling and Rolling Objects
Almost every job out there poses a risk of dropping something heavy on your feet or compressing them under very heavy loads. This is why safety toe caps are some of the most popular features found in almost each and every type of safety boot in the market. The caps are traditionally made of steel, but they are also available in a wide range of other materials. However, the risk of rolling objects crushing your feet cannot be lefts to safety toes alone. Some of the most protective footwear today incorporates additional protection along the metatarsal region to ensure that the rest of your foot is safe from compressing forces.
Working in very cold environments means dressing up to keep warm and snug, and your footwear is no exception. If you will be carrying out any activities in freezing temperatures, there is a risk of frostbite and permanent loss of tissue if you are not well protected. Insulated boots are a must so as to trap all the heat in the shoe and ensure that none of it escapes.
Whether you are pulling a second shift in a car garage or working hard for a promotion in the corporate corridors, there are a few things that can literally bring you down faster than you could say great job. This includes a combination of gravity and a surface that is more slippery that a water slide. While most surfaces are made slippery by water, oil slicks and other substances, others are just slick and smooth by nature. Whatever job you may be undertaking, ensure that your shoe offers as much traction as possible. Slip resistant shoes have been in use for years now by industries like healthcare, kitchens, industrial zones, and outdoor environments. Reduce the risk of falls and slip ups with slip resistant work boots.