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Safety Shoes

When you think about safety shoes for the workplace, heavy-duty footwear such as steel toe boots may come to mind. But there are many kinds of shoes that are designed to make jobs safer. Some are designed to give arch support, some have soft toe or hard toe protection. Then there are safety shoes and boots that are designed to give a worker extra traction when working with exposure to slips, trips and falls. Finding the correct foot protection for the jobs in your workplace requires a risk assessment to determine what kinds of hazards a worker could be exposed to—such as slipping, falling, sharp or heavy objects—pose a threat to your employees’ feet. It will then be possible to select the right shoes or boots for the job that ensures the right protection for workers feet.  

The Function of Safety Shoes:

  Wearing the correct safety shoes or boots can help prevent many foot injuries in the following ways.  

1. Falling & Flying Objects

When workers carry heavy materials or work in environments where many people, machines and vehicles are all operating at once, falling and flying objects are a common hazard. Wearing the right foot protection like hard or steel toe boots can effectively prevent crushing injuries to feet.  

2. Puncture Protection

When working in an environment where a worker is exposed to the possibility of stepping on sharp objects or be struck by a sharp object from above, shoes with heavy-duty soles and thick protective materials are necessary. Construction sites would expose a worker to many sharp objects and a soft soled shoe would not provide enough protection.  

3. Cutting Hazards

Sharp machinery or devices that contain moving parts can pose cutting hazards. Forestry workers for example, face dangers from chainsaws. A chainsaw coming into contact with a workers foot could have catastrophic results, causing life changing injuries. , the result could be catastrophic. Footwear made from cut-resistant material will protect workers who use chainsaws. These type of boots are also waterproof or water repellant and support the ankles.  

4. Electrical Hazards

Any sparks know the risks that electricity poses. Workers could face potential electric shocks, electric sparks or accumulate static electricity, depending on the environment they are working in. A vital PPE component non-conductive footwear made from leather, rubber or other materials that don’t conduct electricity can be worn. In locations where the build-up of static on the body poses a hazard, anti-static or conductive footwear can be used. These options reduce the amount of static that accumulates on the body, preventing static electric sparks.  

5. Slips, Trips & Falls

Slips, trips and falls can happen in any workplace and account for the most accidents that occur at work. Organisations take steps to reduce this risk by implementing safe housekeeping measures, for example making sure the correct signage is visible to all or installing anti-slip floor tape to reduce the risks of these mishaps. Proper footwear is also advised to provide workers with additional protection against slips, trips and falls. Shoes with rubber soles or additional grip can help prevent falls on slippy surfaces. Appropriate shoes can prevent falls from ladders, which are all too common when people don’t wear shoes with proper treads. Not to mention that footwear with the appropriate support can also improve balance, which will help prevent slips, trips and falls.  

6. Fatigue

Many workers stand all day, especially on hard surfaces like concrete, fatigue can be a real problem. Muscles in the feet as well as the legs, back and other parts of the body grow tired, and the situation can be worsened when employees don’t wear appropriate footwear. Shoes that provide adequate cushioning and arch support can alleviate the strain on muscles. Preventing muscle strain will also help protect against musculoskeletal disorders such as chronic lower back pain, too.  

7. Burns

Burns from fire or hot substances and from chemicals can happen in the workplace. Footwear made from durable materials can prevent burns from chemicals splashes, molten metal splashes and other dangerous substances that could injure the skin on the feet.  

8. Extreme Weather

People who work outside in the winter are at risk, as well as employees who work in wet or refrigerated environments. Extreme cold can lead to frost bite and hypothermia. Proper waterproof and insulated footwear provides protection against the cold, rain and snow, thus protecting your feet.   Make sure your organisation provides the appropriate safety shoes for your employees. Doing so will improve safety and comfort, which will make your employees happy, too. For more information please contact our expert sales team on sales@bunzl.ie or phone 353 1 6301800.