Safety footwear are shoes that provide protection to the feet and prevent any kind of injury that could take place. Safety footwear is very important and creates a safer and better working environment. These shoes should be durable and reliable and should keep the feet protected from any harm or accidents. There are many varieties of safety footwear that are available in the market for different job roles.  Many footwear manufacturers around the world have specially designed and created shoes to provide protection which are also affordable and comfortable to wear. There are different components that made up safety footwear.

Reasons for safety footwear

Safety-toed shoes

People who work in factories and mills and places where heavy industrial materials and equipment are being handled every day need to wear proper safety toed shoes. These prevent the foot from severe injuries caused by falls and drops.

Steel insole shoes

People, who are employed to ride bikes, push pedals and drive heavy trucks can suffer from joint problems. Shoes with steel insoles will help in keeping the foot stabilized and prevent it from shifting and moving around too much.

Metal Instep footwear

Metal Instep footwear ensures that the feet are kept protected from all outward injuries, accidents and harmful objects. People working in large industrial factories usually wear these safety shoes which prevent sharp objects like nails, glass pieces and other metal objects from penetrating to the feet, causing injury or harm.

Metatarsal Shoes

These shoes have been specifically designed to protect the upper part of the foot and bones. It reduces and prevents injuries from accidents and mishaps that can occur due to heavy equipment falling on the feet.

Electric hazard shoes

Employees that work with electricity, circuits, wiring and high voltage machines and devices, specially wear this kind of footwear. These shoes have special soles that reduce the shock of high voltage circuits.

 What problems could arise if appropriate safety shoes are not chosen?

Many workers face problems with their feet or legs because safety shoes are not chosen and they are forced to stand for long hours. Feet take the brunt of daily working life.   Standing for long hours with badly fitting shoes, high heels, slippery surfaces and falling objects are some dangers for the feet in workplaces.

Prolonged standing, badly fitting footwear and high heels can lead to some sort of feet problems. These can vary from aches and pains, swelling and corns to fungal infections and varicose veins. Inappropriate footwear can lead to slips and falls. Crushed feet, broken bones and loss of toes are the most common injuries in the construction, logging and fishing industry if adequate footwear is not worn. There can be puncture wounds if there are nails, staples or even scrap metal scattered in the workplace. Cuts, lacerations and severed ties are common in chain saw machineries. Burns from chemicals and electric shocks are common in chemical industries and electrical and chemical industries. Sprains and fractures can take place in any workplace and are normally caused by trips and falls. Poorly fitting footwear can lead to immediate foot problems like corns, blisters, twisted ankles and stubbed toes. In the long term, poorly fitting footwear contributes to problems such as fallen arches, and misaligned bones.

 How to choose safety footwear?    

  More and more countries are introducing compulsory safety footwear regulations to guarantee protection in the workplace.  Steel toed boots are designed to protect the top of the feet.  Safety boots and shoes are fitted with impact protection. There are impact absorbing soles and ankle collars fitted to some safety footwear for additional support

With so many different types of safety shoes and boots available in the modern times the shoes can protect the feet in all types of workplaces. One needs to consider technologically advanced products which provide comfort and convenience for long, gruelling workdays.  These include flexible, cushioned insoles for ultimate comfort. Dual-density memory foam is required for stabilization and to allow the freedom of movement of the feet. Water proof construction is required to keep the feet dry in all types of weather conditions.

The instep of the foot wear should fit perfectly.  Loose or tight fitting instep can lead to falls or toe pain. The ball and heel of the footwear should be well fitting to avoid slippage and pain in the legs. The steel toe can help protect employees from injuries from objects fallings and heavy pressure on the front of the foot which can lead to severe injuries.

 Jobs that need safety footwear

  • Different job roles require different types of footwear. People who are exposed to fire, over heated machineries, welding machines and firefighters need slip resistant shoes. Waterproof leather based or waterproof membrane are the right the shoes to keep the feet dry while working.
  • Persons in the electrical and machinery industrial areas have to prevent themselves from machinery hazards like slipping or rolling objects, and from cuts and puncture from external objects. The metal toe function is the most suitable boots for them. The insole of the toe box is reinforced with metal to provide insulation towards the extremes of temperatures and shield from   slipping and substance or electric hazards.
  • People who work in factories and mills and places where heavy industrial materials and equipment are being handled every day usually wear safety toed shoes to prevent foot accidents can take place at any time.
  • People on the construction sites and those working in places where job involves lifting of heavy equipment and machinery require metatarsal shoes that have been specifically designed and created to protect the upper part of the foot and bones. It reduces and prevents injuries from accidents and mishaps that can occur due to heavy equipment falling or dropping down on the feet
  • Professionals working in the healthcare, hotel, social welfare and teaching industry require all day standing comfort shoes… These are specially designed for fast paced workplace. These shoes provide complete support to the feet keeping them comfortable with no fatigue at the end of the day.

 Different types of safety shoes

Safety footwear comes in many different forms.  The main types are Steel toe cap boots, steel toe cap shoes or trainers, steel toe cap composite shoes, riggers and dealers. They are durable boots or shoes that have protective reinforcement in the toe which protects the foot from falling objects. The sole should also have a protective plate to protect the foot from punctures from pointed objects on the floor.  Steel toe caps/safety footwear are required by law in many different working environments such as the construction industry, agriculture and most factory environments.

Safety footwear is available in many different styles depending on the need of the wearer. They come in boots who are more commonly used in the construction industry and agricultural industries. They come in shoe form more suited to a supervisors position where the wearer is in and out of an office and the working environment e.g. factory environment or warehouse environment.

 Slip resistant soles offer some level of increased resistance to sliding or skidding on uneven surfaces.  But that does not mean that it will protect from slips and falls.  There are shoes termed as oil-resistant, fat-resistant, and alkaline-resistant and others. These soles help the person to receive fewer electric shocks when exposed to high voltage electricity.

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