Our feet are of vital importance to our lives and taking care of them should be a huge priority for all workers. It is, therefore, crucial to choose the type of safety footwear that is best for your particular occupation.
Workplace hazards for feet can come in a number of different forms, and the best way to ensure employees are protected from those hazards, other than controlling them at the source with administrative controls and best work practices, is to insist on the use of proper footwear personal protective equipment (PPE).
How to select safety shoes
Safety footwear needs to be selected based on the hazards in your particular workplace. For instance, choosing safety shoes for ankle support would not be useful in a workplace where the major hazard is falling objects. Steel toe work boots are an excellent traditional form of protection but are they right for you?
Safety trainers have also become very popular of late but again it needs to be determined if they are appropriate and offer sufficient protection for your specific work environment.
What type of occupation requires safety shoes?
Anyone who works with or around electricity will require electrical hazard safety shoes. This type of safety footwear is made with non-conductive heels and soles that prevent the employee from completing electrical circuits, thus cutting down on the risk of electrocution.
Electrically conductive shoes on the other hand are likely to be needed by those who work with flammable or reactive substances such as explosives as they prevent the build-up of static electricity on the body that could otherwise cause a spark, potentially causing an explosion or fire. Nylon, silk and wool socks should not be worn in such environments or with these shoes as they also have a high chance of producing static.
People who work with sharp objects and rolling machines or who work in environments that are cold or have slippery surfaces will also require specific types of safety shoes.
Why choose safety trainers?
Safety trainers are a good choice for those who want safety footwear that has a more casual style and who do not need the protection given by steel-toe work boots and are looking for something more comfortable and relaxed that is similar in appearance to standard street shoes.
Safety trainers are for workers who do not like traditional safety boots and shoes but who still require some level of protection for their toes. They have become extremely popular with tradesmen such as electricians, plasterers and plumbers in the construction industry as well as with couriers and delivery drivers because of their greater comfort.
It is still important to choose the right safety trainers for the job. Safety trainers can have as many different features as is the case with more traditional safety footwear and are available in a wide array of different combinations. These combinations can include the likes of insulated, 6 or 8-inch, composite toe, electrical hazard, puncture resistant, slip resistant, steel toe, aluminium toe, electrostatic-dissipative and waterproof.
There are many factors to consider when purchasing safety shoes or trainers, including their fit and the support and comfort they offer in addition to the safety they offer against specific workplace hazards.