When we think of safety shoes for the workplace, we immediately think of heavy-duty safety boots that protect feet against heavy falling objects and sharp appliances. We might think that safety boots only offer benefits to factory workers and builders, who work with materials that could potentially cause damage to feet.
Safety shoes, however, actually have a number of advantages for a variety of workplaces. Of course, they’re not necessarily required for working in a bank but, if you work in a job where you’re on your feet all day or exposed to hazardous equipment, safety shoes can protect your feet in a number of ways.
What are Safety Shoes?
Safety shoes are part of a worker’s Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in their place of work and can be used on industrial sites through to catering outlets. According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), safety shoes should be worn when a working environment poses a threat to a worker’s feet. OSHA describes safety shoes as shoes that have impact-resistant toes and heat-resistant soles to protect feet against hot work surfaces, often found in roofing, paving and hot metal industries. In addition, some safety shoes will have metal insoles to protect against puncture wounds, while others will be designed to be electrically conductive.
How can Safety Shoes Protect Your Feet?
There are a number of ways in which safety shoes can protect your feet. Firstly, they provide protection from falling objects. In an environment where loose materials are handled by different people, protective shoe features like steel toe caps can prevent your feet being crushed.
In addition, the relevant safety shoes can protect your feet from extreme weather, burns and electrical hazards. For example, non-conductive footwear made from leather or rubber can be worn to prevent an electrical accident.
Likewise, safety shoes with heavy-duty soles can prevent the foot from being struck or pierced after treading on sharp objects on the floor. If you work at night when it’s dark, for example, you may not see sharp objects on the floor.
Safety shoes can also provide additional protection against slips, trips and falls. Shoes with appropriate traction, for example, will be less slippery than non-safety shoes. Wearing shoes that have a good fit can improve balance too!
Safety shoes are important for workers who stand all day, since they help prevent fatigue in the foot muscles and the rest of the body. If your shoes provide adequate cushioning and arch support, you will be more comfortable and put less strain on your muscles.
Wearing anti-fatigue insoles in your shoes, as well as proper fitting safety shoes with solid insoles can help protect against foot problems like plantar fasciitis that develops due to pressure and strain on the plantar fascia muscle in your foot. It can be caused by standing on your feet for long periods of time at work.
How to Select Your Safety Shoes
It is clear then that safety shoes offer protection against hazardous work conditions and common foot problems. However, in order for your safety shoes to provide ample protection, it is necessary to purchase shoes that are suited to you and where you work. Here are seven things to consider before buying your safety shoes:
- Know the dangers associated with your workplace and buy safety shoes that provide appropriate protection for these hazards.
- Make sure your insoles are suitable for the job too, for example, you may need orthotic insoles for added cushioning or heat-resistant insoles.
- Leather uppers, lined with moisture-wicking lining, will keep your feet dry (ultimately, they’ll stop you sweating too much!).
- Flat soles and a wide base provide more stability for your feet.
- Your safety shoes should completely cover your feet and should be puncture proof if you are working with hazardous materials.
- Make sure you can wiggle your toes for the best fit (even at the end of the day when your feet are hot and well-worked!).
- Make sure your safety shoes are comfortable and supportive.
Safety Shoes from Essential Safety Wear
Essential Safety Wear sells a range of branded and unbranded safety shoes that offer the necessary protection for your feet at an affordable price. For more information on how safety shoes can protect your feet, call Essential Safety Wear on 01462 675 200.