When you think about safety shoes certainly what comes to your mind is that kind of footwear that is used in different kinds of work to be protected from various risks, but do you actually know how to wear safety shoes?
There are indeed many types of safety footwear that can make your and many other jobs safer, but to find the right protection for your feet you will have to assess the risks and dangers typical of your job (such as slipping, falling, stepping on sharp or pointy objects) in order to establish which kinds of protection and thus of shoes you need.
Once you have bought the right type of safety shoes for your needs the most important thing will be using them to the best of their capacities and protection, so you will have to learn how to wear safety shoes properly.
Safety footwear may not sound as important as other types of safety equipment like goggles or protective gloves, but it is actually extremely important and its use brings many advantages.
The actual function of safety footwear
Foot injuries can be debilitating, with subsequent justified absence from work or difficulties in performing tasks. Wearing safety footwear can help to prevent feet-related problems and accidents, but knowing how to use such footwear also greatly reduces such risks.
Protection from falling objects
When in your work you carry heavy materials or you move in chaotic environments, where many people, machines and vehicles are active at the same time, falling objects become a serious risk. S1, S1P, S2 or S3, thanks to its protective toecap can effectively prevent crush injuries to the feet. If there is also a risk of objects falling on the instep, then what you need is safety footwear with metatarsal protection (marked “M”).
Best “M” picks by SafetyShoesToday
Protection against sharp objects
When in your work there’s a risk of stepping on sharp or pointy objects, safety footwear equipped with puncture-proof plates offer the best protection. In construction sites, for example, there may be pointy items on your way, for instance protruding nails on scaffolds. Safety shoes with thin outsoles and not equipped with puncture-resistant plates may not provide sufficient protection. What you need is S1P or S3 safety footwear, or, if you don’t need toe protection, O1P or O3.
Best “S3” picks by SafetyShoesToday
Some machinery with moving parts represent a serious risk in some cases. Workers in industrial logging activities are exposed to the risk of cuts from chainsaws. Should a chainsaw come into contact with someone’s foot, the consequences would be catastrophic. Wearing the right safety footwear (complying with the standard 17249) and knowing how to use it greatly reduces the risk of injuries.
Best “17249 LEVEL I, II, III” picks by SafetyShoesToday
Protection from electrical risks
Electricity involves a series of risks in a workplace. Workers may get electrocuted or accumulate static electricity on their body (two diametrically opposed situations).
To reduce the chances of an electric shock you can wear insulating footwear of rubber or other non-conductive materials (complying with the standard 50321). In places where the accumulation of static electricity on the body’s surface poses a danger, it’s necessary to wear antistatic safety shoes (the standard in Europe), ESD shoes or conductive shoes (marked “C”). These solutions reduce the amount of static electricity that accumulates on the body, avoiding the formation of sparks.
Avoding slipping and falling
Slipping and falling can happen at any workplace, and indeed numerous accidents occur every year. Companies can adopt measures like regular cleaning or the installation of slip-resistant lining for the floors, to reduce such risks. The employees, for their part, can wear highly slip-resistant safety shoes (SRC) and know how to effectively wear them. It’s also worth mentioning that the risk of ankle sprains greatly increases if you don’t wear slip-resistant footwear.
For those who work standing all day, especially if on hard surfaces like concrete floors, fatigue can become a serious issue. Foot, leg and back muscles get tired, and the situation gets worse if you don’t wear appropriate footwear. Shoes with proper shock-absorption and arch support can provide comfort and relieve muscle tension. This means that you will feel tired less often, you will be more focused at work and so you will work more efficiently and safely. But you must wear them properly!
Protection from bad weather
Cold can lead to serious conditions like hypothermia, and such dangers can’t be ignored in a workplace. People who work outdoors in winter are at risk, as well as those who work in moist or refrigerated environments.
Cold can also worsen existing, little known conditions. Having and knowing how to wear safety the right safety footwear for these types of jobs will provide the protection you need (CI to protect from the cold, as well as padding of materials like Thinsulate, and WR if you need protection from water infiltrations) and they will maintain your feet warm and comfortable in combination with other safety equipment.
Best “WR and CI” picks by SafetyShoesToday
How to wear safety shoes in order to have the best protection
At this point you just have to read the following tips about how to best use safety footwear and to get the best protection of it:
- • only buy shoes of the right size (length and width);
- • choose the right type of safety footwear with the right protections and fastening;
- • preferably wear sport or work socks;
- • remember to keep the feet dry, as well as the socks, the insole and the lining of the shoes;
- • place the insole in the shoes carefully;
- • try to wear your socks making them adhere to your feet (no folds);
- • when you put your feet in the shoes make sure the insole doesn’t move;
- • move your fingers to adapt the feet to the shoes, especially in the toecap area;
- • move the feet back and forth to allow the insole to match the feet’s anatomy;
- • remember to tie your shoes well, they must adhere to the feet without being too tight, or they’ll cut off blood circulation;
- • NEVER leave the shoelaces untied, it can damage the feet, because you would lose the safety and the comfort provided by the shoes when they’re worn properly. That would also increase the risk of plantar fasciitis and ankle sprains and, in case of accidents, you would not be as protected as you should be. If you need breathability choose breathable shoes, but don’t leave them untied.
How to wear safety shoes: Conclusions
I hope this list was helpful for you to learn how to properly wear safety footwear, to be protected at work.
Do you have any points to add on how to wear safety shoes?
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