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Safety footwear markings – additional requirements and slip resistance

When you have to choose your new pair of professional footwear you need to know what type of Safety footwear markings it should have.

Many times you see a professional shoe that you like with a long series of Safety footwear markings and you don’t know what those markings mean.

The manufacturers of professional footwear are obliged by law to show the markings of the footwear they sell, because you must know what are the properties of the shoes you’re wearing. Normally the markings are indicated on the box and on a label that is placed inside the footwear, usually in the tongue area, or somewhere on the inside lining.

  • How many different markings for footwear exist?
  • What is the difference between the various markings?

All Safety footwear markings are indicated in the norms, especially in the 20345, 20346, 20347.

Markings on professional footwear include some important information like size, year and month or quarter of production, reference to the international standards followed (example UNI EN ISO 20345), safety category and additional safety footwear markings.

In this article I’ll talk about the safety footwear markings related to the additional requirements and slip resistance (for a complete vision please read also the article on the markings related to the safety categories).

I bet you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to find the perfect product for you!

  • Do you need safety footwear with heat insulation of the outsole?
  • Do you need protective footwear with the best possible slip resistance?
  • Do you need occupational footwear with puncture resistant plates?

There’s a huge variety of needs and you have to choose, let me explain technically what exists on the market, and which markings you have to look for to find the perfect protective footwear for your specific needs.

Usually markings on professional footwear are shown in the following order:

COMMERCIAL NAME + SAFETY CATEGORY + ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS + SLIP RESISTANCE

Safety footwear markings - additional requirements and slip resistance - Safety Shoes Today

The order of these markings can change, for example the slip resistance can be mentioned before the additional markings.

Below is a list of the most common markings for professional footwear related to the additional requirements and slip resistance and their basic properties.

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR SPECIAL APPLICATIONS:

  • A = Antistatic footwear. In a dry and in a wet atmosphere the electrical resistance shall be between 0,1 MΩ and 1000 MΩ (from 100 kΩ to 1000 MΩ). Antistatic footwear cannot guarantee adequate protection against electric shock as it only introduces a resistance between foot and floor.
  • AL = Resistance to effects of molten metal, using aluminum as test metal.  The test is conducted by pouring molten aluminum at a temperature of 780 ± 50°C onto a test sample fitted to a leg form and observations are made during and after pouring.
  • AN = Ankle protection (≤ 10 kN). The mean value of the test result shall not exceed 10kN and no single value shall exceed 15KN

 

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  • C = Conductive footwear. Should be used to minimize electrostatic charges in the shortest possible time, for example while handling explosives. Should not be used if the risk of shock from any electrical apparatus or live parts has not been completely eliminated. After conditioning in a dry atmosphere the electrical resistance shall be < 0,1 MΩ (from 1 KΩ to 100 KΩ).
  • CH = Chemical resistance of fire resistant boots
  • CI = Cold insulation of the outsole (tested at -17ºC). When tested, the temperature decrease on the upper surface of the insole shall not be more than 10ºC

 

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  • CR = Cut resistance of the upper (≥ 2,5). Cut protection is provided by placing several layers of Kevlar between the lining and the upper. This type of footwear shall have a permanently attached protective material at least 3cm high, going from the toe cap to the heel to the end of the footwear

 

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  • E = Energy absorbing seat region, ≥ 20 J when tested
  • ESD = Electro Static Discharge (between 100 KΩ and 35 MΩ). ESD shoes do not primarily protect the person but rather the ElectroStatic Discharge Sensitive devices (ESDS) that are present in sensitive working areas (called EPA = Electrostatic Protected Areas).

 

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  • FE = Resistance to the effects of molten metal, using iron as test metal. The test is conducted by pouring the molten iron at a temperature of 1400 ± 50°C onto a test sample fitted to a leg form. Observations are made during and after pouring.
  • FO = Resistance to fuel oil of the outsole (volume increase when tested must be ≤ 12%)
  • HI = Heat insulation of the outsole (test at 150ºC). When tested, the temperature increase on the upper surface of the insole after 30 minutes shall not be greater than 22ºC. After the test the outsole must not present damage that could affect the regular usage of the footwear and its performances. The insulation must be non-removable from the shoe.

 

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  • HI1 = Heat resistance, after being tested at 150 Celsius degrees for 30 minutes the internal temperature inside the footwear shall be less than 42 Celsius degrees. The degradation of the footwear is then tested during the same 30 minutes test and has to comply with the standard.
  • HI2 = Heat resistance, after being tested at 250 Celsius degrees for 10 minutes the internal temperature inside the footwear shall be less than 42 Celsius degrees. The degradation of the footwear is then tested in the same 10 minutes test plus 10 more minutes and must comply with the standard.
  • HI3 = Heat resistance, after being tested at 150 Celsius degrees for 30 minutes the internal temperature inside the footwear shall be less than 42 Celsius degrees. The degradation of the footwear is then tested in the same 10 minutes test plus 30 more minutes and must comply with the standard.
  • HRO = Resistance to contact with hot surfaces (tested at 300ºC). When tested, rubber and polymeric outsoles must not melt or crack, even when bent

 

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  • I = Electrically insulating footwear, a type of footwear that protects the user against electrical shocks in low voltage installations by preventing the passage of dangerous current through the body via the feet (to the ground). The electrical resistance is > 1000 MΩ (> 1 GΩ). “I” footwear can include metallic parts in its construction.
  • IS = High isolating properties, optional test, only for firefighter boots. The electrical resistance is > 1000 MΩ (> 1 GΩ) both in dry and wet conditions.
  • M = Metatarsal protection, only for EN ISO 20345. The minimum clearance at impact has to be ≤ 40 mm in size 41/42. The protective component has to be attached to the shoe and non-removable. Should be enginereed so that, in case of impact, it distributes the resulting forces on the sole, toe cap, and on as a large surface of the foot as possible.

 

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  • P = Penetration resistance sole (≥ 1100 N). The footwear is equipped with a perforation resistant insert that is non removable from the footwear. When the footwear is tested using a force of 1100N the tip of the nail shall not penetrate (protrude) through the test piece.
  • R = Compression resistance (500 ± 10N) of toe cap for rescue fire resistant boots (it is optional)
  • T = Compression (15 ± 0,1 kN) and impact (200 ± 4 J)resistance of toe cap for rescue fire resistant boots (it is optional)
  • WG = Resistance to molten metal spashes

 

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  • WP = Water vapor permeability and coefficient
  • WR = Water resistance. The total wetted area inside the footwear shall be ≤ 3cm² when tested.

 

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  • WRU = Water penetration and absorption resistant upper, when tested (≥ 60min.) the water penetration (mass increase) shall not be higher than 0,2gr and the water absorption shall not be higher than 30%

Safety footwear markings: SLIP RESISTANCE

Safety shoes are subjected to a slip resistance test in accordance with DIN EN 13287.

Safety footwear markings - additional requirements and slip resistance - Safety Shoes Today

At a given pressure, the shoe is pulled across two different surfaces, each of which is covered with a different lubricant. The resulting friction is measured.

  • SRA = Ceramic tiles + Sodium lauryl sulfate NaLS (forward heel slip friction coefficient ≥ 0.28 /forward flat slip friction coefficient ≥ 0.32)
  • SRB = Steel floor + Glycerine (forward heel slip friction coefficient ≥ 0.13 /forward flat slip friction coefficient ≥ 0.18)
  • SRC = SRA + SRB

 

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These are the solutions that I recommend to you when you’re looking for the markings for choosing the best  professional footwear for yourself.

Safety footwear markings - additional requirements and slip resistance - Safety Shoes Today

Once you have selected the pair of safety shoes with the right  Safety footwear markings you’ll be more protected and comfortable at work.

I guarantee that if you use the right professional footwear you’ll live a better working experience.

What do you think about the different safety footwear markings?

Do you have points to add?

Please write your comments below!

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