There are plenty of different types of safety shoes, each one with variety of features designed for a particular type of usage. Below are some of the biggest considerations you need to make when buying new safety shoes, all for use around heavy machinery, construction or in the warehouse. There are also plenty of examples to give you a starting point for your search!
Foot injuries are nothing to scoff at and one of the biggest causes of foot injuries in the workplace is something landing on them. All safety shoes will help protect you against some impact damage using a reinforced toe cap, as regardless of what materials are used any safety shoe in the EU must withstand a minimum of 200 joules in a drop test. This is useful in most workplaces, however in an environment with machinery and lots of heavy lifting the chance of you causing yourself a serious injury is much larger. Many composite toe caps can give a very high resistance to impact, however steel toecaps deserve an extra mention, as they are considered to be one of the strongest options and allow you to release your foot easily should they become trapped under something. Strong toe-caps are essential for construction or warehouse work!
Ensuring you choose the correct outsole is also important, especially if you work in an environment where it’s easy to stand on sharp objects such as nails, glass or scrap metal. Many shoes are designed with puncture protection in mind, but some are even made with especially heavy-duty soles and thick materials to specifically resist injuries of this kind. Punctures are an issue in many different professions and depending on the role, you may have to choose which will suit you best, a greater standard of protection or a more lightweight and flexible shoe.
In addition to punctures, if your job involves using cutting machinery, such as logging machines, it’s very important to wear footwear specifically designed to be resistant. Chainsaws have their own class protection classification, so choosing the right shoes will stop you from losing toes!
Burns are also more common than you would expect in many workplaces with chemical burns being especially easy to develop. Even some common workplace materials such as cement can cause these burns, so when working around chemicals or flammable materials, footwear made from durable materials should be considered. Some can even prevent burns from molten metal splashes, so your exposure to these sorts of environments should play a significant factor on what material your shoes should be made from.
We all know that cold weather can lead to injuries such as frost bite and hypothermia, and those dangers shouldn’t be overlooked in the workplace. People who work outside in the winter are at risk, as well as employees who work in wet or refrigerated environments. In addition, the cold can exacerbate some less known workplace injuries such as Raynaud’s Syndrome, caused by power tool use, where fingers and toes can turn white from poor blood flow. This is made worse when employees are exposed to cold temperatures so keeping your feet warm and comfortable with appropriate material is important.
Finally, for workers who are on their feet for the whole day, fatigue can be a real problem, especially when on hard surfaces like concrete. Muscles in the feet as well as the legs, back and other parts of the body grow tired quickly and the situation can be worsened when employees don’t wear appropriate footwear. Shoes that provide adequate cushioning and arch support can make you more comfortable, reducing both excess strain on muscles and the chance of musculoskeletal disorders. This also means that employees are more likely to be alert making them safer and more efficient when doing their job.
See our full range of safety footwear online at industrialscientific.co.uk. For guidance on choosing the right footwear for your application contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in the contact form below and a member of our technical support team will get back to you.