It is very important to feel safe and comfortable when buying safety footwear because this shoe will accompany the worker throughout the entire working day.
In addition, it is essential to know the regulations that govern safety footwear, such as the symbols that appear on each shoe tongue or the EN ISO 20345 standard (the standard that applies to safety footwear throughout Europe) in order to know how to choose the most appropriate one in each case.
For this reason, in this article we explain everything you need to know about safety footwear regulations in a simple and quick way.
Characteristics that professional safety footwear must have according to the regulations
There is a wide range of styles in professional footwear. Depending on the degree of protection, there are two main types:
- Work footwear. In this case, the toecap and insole are not impact-resistant, but both comply anti-slip and water-repellent protection criteria.
- Safety or protective footwear (EN ISO 20345): It has a minimum impact resistance of 200 Joules and compressive strength of at least 15 kN at the toe cap, in addition to other characteristics such as being antistatic.
Professional footwear must have the appropriate characteristics to be considered safety footwear and protect the user from suffering or avoiding any type of damage by fire or chemical agents, among others.
To this end, designation codes have been created to catalog the most frequent safety footwear criteria and their types:
This category indicates that the footwear meets with the basic criteria of resistance and protection of the toe area. The S stands for safety footwear, and is followed by a letter or a number which determines its type. B stands for Basic.
The S1 footwear presents novel features such as closed back, antistatic (A), hydrocarbon resistant (FO) and energy absorbing in the heel area (E), as well as meeting basic requirements (SB).
The S2 category indicates that the footwear meets the standards of the S1 category, (and therefore the SB category), in addition to providing resistance to water and liquid absorption in the upper part of the footwear.
Continuing with the previous one, this footwear meets the standards of category S2 (and therefore also of categories SB and S1), in addition to providing a lugged sole and a resistance to sole puncture.
This category refers to wellington boots, which in addition to meeting S3 footwear standards (and therefore also SB, S1 and S2 categories), include a closed rear foot, anti-static capabilities, energy suction in the heel area and hydrocarbon resistance.
Like category S4 category, these wellington boots meet with the S4 footwear standard (and therefore categories SB, S1, S2 and S3). Also, these boots have a cleated sole and high puncture resistance.
Specific labeling of safety footwear according to current standards
In addition to these characteristics, safety footwear may incorporate a number of other requirements, which must be visible on the product labeling with a corresponding symbol:
For complete footwear
- P. Puncture resistance: the footwear incorporates insoles (which may be metal or textile anti-puncture) with a puncture resistance of 1,100N force.
- C. Conductive footwear: its electrical resistance is from 0 to 100 kilohms. It is designed to evaporate electrostatic charges.
- A. Antistatic footwear: Although it is similar to label C, this label is intended for safety footwear designed to dissipate electrostatic charges between 100 and 1,000 kilohms.
- HI. Heat resistance of the sole: insulation against heat of the sole of the footwear up to 150ºC.
- CI. Cold resistance: provides insulation against cold of the sole of the footwear up to -17ºC.
- E. Energy absorption in the heel area: this area of the safety shoe must be able to absorb a minimum of 20 J of energy.
- M. Metatarsal protection: the footwear incorporates additional metatarsal safety.
- AN. Ankle protection: the footwear incorporates added ankle protection.
- CR. Cut Resistance: the shoe has a protection zone resistant to possible zones
- WR. Waterproofing: the entire shoe must be waterproof.
- WRU. Resistance to water penetration and absorption: the upper of the shoe shows resistance to water inclusion and absorption.
Only on the sole
- HRO. resistance to contact heat: the sole can withstand contact heat with temperatures up to 300ºC.
- FO. Resistance to hydrocarbons: the sole of the footwear is resistant to contact with hydrocarbons. This is a minimum requirement for safety footwear.
- Another basic requirement is slip resistance, which is discussed in more detail below.
Slip resistance (Basic requirements)
The slip resistance criteria for safety, protective and work shoes are as follows:
- Slip resistance on ceramic tile flooring with sodium lauryl sulphate (SRA marking).
- Non-slip on steel floor with glycerine (SRB marking).
- Slip resistance on ceramic tiles with sodium lauryl sulphate and on steel floor with glycerine (marked SRC).
What did you think of this article on EN ISO 20345 safety footwear standards? Did we miss something? Leave us your opinion or any questions in the comments.
And remember,it is important to look at the label of each safety footwear to know what risks it protects against
At GPI we are experts in the design, development and manufacture of high quality custom-made safety footwear based on the prevention measures in force and the specifications required for certification. Contact us and get to know us better without obligation.