Ensuring your employees have the right footwear for the job is essential to their safety, comfort, and productivity. Use this guide to assess the needs of your work environment and help choose the correct safety shoes for your workers.
Shop All Work Safety Shoes
To comply with federal regulations enforced by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), protective footwear is required for workers in industrial settings and it is considered a form of PPE. Some safety shoes may be designed to protect against one hazard while others are designed to protect against multiple.
Safety toe shoes feature a metal or nonmetal toe cap to protect toes against impact from falling objects.
Composite toe work shoes are made from a combination of durable, non-metal materials such as Kevlar, carbon fiber, and plastic. When comparing composite toe vs steel toe shoes, composite toe boots are more lightweight and breathable, making them a more comfortable choice to wear for long periods of time. They are also less likely to be affected by fluctuating or extreme temperatures.
Steel toe work shoes feature a steel capping over the toe area to provide protection against falling objects. One of the most popular and reliable choices for protective footwear, steel toe shoes are ideal for warehouses, manufacturing plants, and other industrial sites working with heavy machinery and objects.
Alloy toe shoes are made up of durable yet lightweight materials like aluminum and titanium. They are ideal for industrial work environments where comfort and moveability are just as important as impact resistance.
Electrical hazard protection shoes feature electric-shock-resistant soles and heels that can withstand up to 18,000 volts or 60 Hertz for an entire minute with no current flow or leakage of more than a milliampere.
Moisture-resistant shoes are designed to keep feet dry in wet conditions and come in two types: waterproof and water-resistant. Waterproof shoes are best for conditions where you may be standing in areas with shallow water for an extended period of time. Water-resistant shoes are best for conditions where you may need protection from infrequent splashes of water.
Waterproof shoes have a special membrane coating that will cause water to bead up and roll off the shoe to keep water out and your feet completely dry.
Water-resistant shoes will not bead and eventually the material will let water into the shoe.
When considering the type of safety shoes you need for the job, it is important to look at the hazards that may be present at your worksite.
If your workplace has any of the following hazards, then you will need to require protective footwear:
Here are some other questions to consider when looking for the correct safety shoe:
Will your employees be on their feet for long periods of time? A cushioned insole or midsole will help absorb shock to provide support and prevent foot pain and back aches.
Will your employees be working in cold conditions? Insulated work boots are a must if you work outside or are exposed to other cold conditions.
To be considered protective footwear, a shoe must meet the guidelines set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). The ASTM F2413, Standard Specification for Performance Requirements for Protective (Safety) Toe Cap Footwear, sets the minimum standards and testing procedures for safety footwear.
Safety footwear does not need to meet all the below requirements to conform to the ASTM F2413 standard. However, it should clearly state which of the requirements the footwear meets. Here are some protective footwear codes and what rating they stand for:
Let's breakdown the following shoe safety rating by looking at its codes.
M I/75 C/75
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