When choosing your pair of safety footwear you’d better check the slip resistance of the product you are going to purchase. This is probably one of the most important features that you need to consider, mostly for all types of work.
Every type of work has its characteristics and any worker should wear the right safety shoes, but almost all jobs need some basic features, one of them is the slip resistance of the outsole.
In this article I will tell you about slip resistant safety footwear.
The legislation on safety footwear helps to prevent damages caused by bad falls; but also learning more about the technical plus invented by the manufacturers will help you a lot.
In this article I’ll explain to you something about slip resistant safety footwear, because on the market there are a number of footwear solutions for this purpose.
I bet you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to find the product for yourself!
- Do you work in a restaurant?
- Do you work in the steel industry?
- Do you work in an airport?
- Do you work in a mine?
- Do you work in a warehouse?
- Do you work in a security force?
- Do you work in the emergency sector?
- Do you work in agriculture?
In these, and in so many other types of jobs you need protection against slipping on a wet or greasy surface, so, you definitely need to choose between among the different types of safety shoes with different slip resistance properties.
Now I’ll technically explain to you what exists on the market and what technical specifications you have to look for, to find the perfect slip resistant safety footwear for your needs.
The problem arising from not choosing a good slip resistant safety footwear is that you can have accidents caused by slipping in various circumstances, for example:
- you can slip on food
- you can slip on oils
- you can slip because of moisture
- you can slip on dust
- you can slip on a wet floor
- you can slip on liquids
- you can slip on fluids
- you can slip on mud
As you can see there are different types of situations that may lead to slipping, which can even cause severe damage. Working safely is your right and your due, so you really need to choose a good pair of slip resistant safety footwear.
Safety shoes are subjected to a slip resistance test in accordance with DIN EN 13287.
Let me tell you in few words how the test is done: at a given pressure, the shoe is pulled on two different surfaces, each of which is covered with a different lubricant. The resulting friction is then measured.
The markings assigned to slip resistant safety footwear according to the results of the tests are:
SRA = Ceramic tyle floor + Sodium lauryl sulfate NaLS (forward minimum heel slip friction coefficient ≥ 0.28 /forward minimum flat slip friction coefficient ≥ 0.32)
- SRB = Steel floor + Glycerine (forward minimum heel slip friction coefficient ≥ 0.13 /forward minimum flat slip friction coefficient ≥ 0.18)
- SRC = SRA + SRB
It means that if the shoe has passed both tests it can be considered SRA and SRB, so the shoe will be marked SRC. In Europe the biggest part of safety shoes are SRC, while it is becoming rare to find ones that are just SRA or SRB.
My suggestion is to go deeper in such matter by checking if the manufacturer has indicated the slip resistance coefficient of the outsole that you are examining. Otherwise you might ask your supplier to give you the specifications sheet of the footwear, most likely the value of the slip test is indicated there.
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Slip resistant safety footwear is built based on some technical tricks to make the shoe more stable on slippery surfaces, let me describe to you some of the most common construction tricks for increasing the ratio of slip resistant safety footwear:
- the materials of the outsole: single density PU and rubber are, in general, the most slip resistant materials so I recommend you choose these materials if you need high slip resistance. In decreasing order of slip resistance, TPU, then double density PU follow.
- the density of the materials: as just described the different materials composing the outsoles have different degrees of slip protection; but the density of the materials can also increase or lower the slip ratio, so a softer compound will be more slip resistant than a harder one, but less abrasion resistant… In general rubber is the best compromise between high slip resistance and abrasion resistance, instead if you need light weight, abrasion resistance and yet good slip resistance then TPU is probably the best compromise. If you need light weight and you work indoor so you don’t have outsole abrasion problems, then single density PU is the best choice.
- the surface in contact with the floor: another trick is to increase the surface that touches the floor. A wider outsole will have more surface in contact with the floor, which will mean more grip in a slippery situation. So you better choose a wide outsole towards a thin one.
- a design similar to that of car tires: tires are designed for getting water and mud out in order to avoid the sliding of wheels, typical of all smooth surfaces. The design of outsoles works exactly the same way. That’s why in general an outsole that is designed like a car tire works better on slippery floors.
- the design of the cleats: the manufacturers will cut transversal angles on the top of the cleats. This cuts will make the surface irregular in order to avoid wheel slide, typical of all smooth surfaces.
- self cleaning channels: the channels are part of the design of the cleats and they work exactly as car tires. The manufacturers will dispose the channels in wide “V” patterns in order for mud to quickly get out of the outsole when walking. Clean channels will allow water to get out avoiding wheel slide, typical of all smooth surfaces
It won’t be easy to check all these details when you’ll be looking at your slip resistant safety footwear, but my goal is to make you more trained, it will be also funny to reach out the different tricks used by the manufacturers for getting you the best slip resistant safety footwear.
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When you’ll have your pair of slip resistant safety footwear, accurately chosen among the many types available, you will be protected at work.
I guarantee that if you use the right slip resistant safety footwear you’ll live a better working experience.
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