Wearing heavy duty work boots is essential in many types of environments. This type of footwear is needed to provide protection from a variety of potential hazards, including compression resistance. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) conducted a foot injury study that indicated 75% of workplace foot injuries resulted from not complying with existing safety regulations.
While 23% of the foot injuries were sustained due to non-compliance, injuries still occurred with workers that were wearing safety shoes. The BLS study found that with 85% of these workers, their injuries resulted from objects striking unprotected areas.
According to the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Personal Protective Equipment manual, there are several industry workplace situations where specific types of foot and/or leg protection are required.
These workplace situations include, but are not limited to, those that contain the following types of potential hazards:
- Using, or being surrounded by, heavy objects
- Handling sharp objects
- Exposure to molten metal
- Hot, wet or slippery surfaces
- Electrical hazards
OSHA’s manual also states that safety footwear needs to meet the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) minimum compression resistance protocols.
In order to protect your feet from a variety of workplace hazards, ANSI Z41-1991 outlines the minimum compression and impact performance standards. In order to be ANSI-approved, safety footwear must have a protective toe and provide impact and compression protection.
When choosing the correct safety footwear, OSHA recommends that shoe manufacturers be contacted in order to determine which safety features are provided. This is important in order to determine whether the protection is sufficient for the specific type of job, work place environment, and any obvious or potential hazards.
In order to prevent on-the-job foot injuries, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has developed specific standards that measure work boot safety levels. In order to learn more specific information about how safety performance can be measured, this is outlined in ASTM F2413-11.
If a safety shoe or boot is composed of steel or composite materials, it must still contain a protective toe cap. This cap has to be fixed permanently to the inside of the shoe or boot in order to provide impact resistance. Furthermore, there should be approximately 12.5 millimeters between the longest toes and the tip of the shoe or boot.
The importance of work place safety cannot be stressed enough. An integral aspect of this is to wear appropriate footgear. While the type of job being performed, along with the specific work place environment, does make a difference, proper safety footwear may include steel toe boots, composite toe boots, and waterproof boots along with other protective devices such as leg gear.
One type of best-selling boot is Magnum Stealth. This boot, which was developed for the United Kingdom’s military, is constructed of a patented plasma-based technology. Furthermore, it is the number-one selling uniform boot across the globe.
Wearing safety shoes or boots with compression resistance is an OSHA requirement for good reason. In order to prevent potential foot injuries, it is essential to comply with OSHA’s standards. In addition to the potential pain and suffering that can occur from sustaining a foot or toe injury, the BLS reports that it can also cause you to be out of work for at least a week.