Safety footwear is part of the PPE or individual protection equipment of the worker. It is of vital importance to use it whenever the activity to be carried out requires it.
For this reason, at GPI Shoes we recommend our customers to wear certified safety footwear that combines functionality and protection.
A poorly designed footwear can prevent workers from doing their work well and, above all, it will make them not want to use it again due to discomfort and the inconvenience.
Protecting your feet at work when risky activities are carried out is a habit that must be adopted.
Our feet are exposed to falling objects, impacts on the heel, or sharp objects (in the latter case, we should choose shoes with a resistant toe and heel, as well as a resistant sole).
In addition, whenever the profession requires it, safety footwear must be breathable, so that air can circulate.Discomfort, poor fit or poor breathability will make it more difficult to wear this type of footwear. The more ergonomic the design, the better results.
According to an ILO report, every year there are 317 million work-related accidents around the world. Accidents happen unexpectedly. Therefore safety footwear iis a vital component in the prevention of foot injuries and related disorders.
But, what hazards do safety shoes protect against at work?
Protection from falling objects
When workers carry heavy objects or work in places with a lot of movement of people, machines or vehicles, tools or other objects are likely to fall to the ground. These accidents can cause damage to the feet resulting in traumatic muscle injuries, broken bones and even partial or complete loss or amputation of toes or foot
It is very likely that these accidents occur mainly in the construction industry, so the use of this type of safety footwear is necessary in this type of sector.
Protection against punctures in the foot
This protection is important when workers are at risk of stepping on or being hit by sharp objects (nails, machinery, tools, etc.). These kind of inconveniences are very common in the construction sector and in heavy industry
Soft-sole footwear would not be able to provide the necessary protection to withstand a penetration, whereas footwear with heavy and high-strength insoles with thick materials would resist a puncture from a sharp object.
Sharp or moving machinery can be dangerous.
There is a risk of serious cuts to workers, especially in industries such as the woodworking sector, factories and the construction sector, as well as in any other work where chainsaws, radial saws, lathes, milling machines or other similar machinery or tools are used.
Protection from electrical hazards
Workers are at risk of electrocution or even they can accumulate static electricity that can create sparks in certain environments. Such accidents are likely to be fatal, so it is essential to take special care. To reduce the risk it is necessary to wear non-conductive footwear made of leather, rubber or other non-electrically conductive materials.
Slip, trip and fall protection
This type of accident is very common in most jobs where work shoes are required, e.g. in catering (e.g. in kitchens).
In this case, the flooring material influences the choice of safety footwear, which must have the adequate traction and grip to avoid possible accidents.
In addition to this, it also helps to avoid falls due to loss of balance or to avoid falls on stairs. This common accident can occur when workers do not wear the corresponding footwear, especially among installers and workers from cleaning, maintenance and/or renovation companies.
Reducing Work Fatigue
If you don’t have hard-surface-specific footwear for your team, feet can tire quickly and cause discomfort, reducing worker performance.
If you don’t have the specific footwear for hard surfaces such as concrete for your team, feet can quickly tire and cause discomfort, causing workers’ performance to decrease.
To counteract this, safety boots are the perfect footwear choice. They provide proper cushioning and arch support to help reduce muscle strain.
Protection against corrosion and/or burns (flame-retardant footwear)
Some workers such as firefighters, iron and steel industry personnel or chemical industry personnel may suffer burns from fire or by various corrosive chemicals.
Safety shoes made of durable, heat-resistant materials that can can counteract the risk of possible burns.
They protect feet from chemical spills, molten metal splashes or other hazardous substances.
Protection against adverse weather conditions
People who work outdoors in the winter or in cold areas can suffer from frostbite or even hypothermia.
This is why it is necessary to have the right equipment. In this respect, it is essential that footwear is waterproof and offers protection against cold, snow or ice and/or liquids.
In addition to frostbite, they can create other dangerous disorders such as Raynaud’s Phenomenon.
Therefore, there are many jobs where safety starts from the bottom up, and having the right safety footwear is vital.
Proper safety footwear is not only very important to protect the feet in terms of work performance. It also directly affects the lives of workers, because the consequences of not wearing the right shoes in a risky workplace can have dire consequences.
For this purpose, there are 2 specific certification categories for the soles of safety footwear that must be taken into account:
- CI, acronym in English for Cold Insulation: allows temperatures of up to -17ºC to be endured.
- HI, acronym for Heat Insulation: allows temperatures of up to 150ºC to be endured.
Here you can find additional information on other certification categories for safety footwear.
Did you know the importance of safety footwear and all the occupational hazards it can protect against? Leave us in the comments if you have any doubts or queries.
If you are looking for a strategic partner for the design, development and production of high quality made-to-measure safety footwear to protect your workers from all occupational hazards, at GPI we can help you.
We are specialists with more than 20 years of experience in the sector. Contact us without obligation and discover our services to carry out your project.
We want to be the footwear area of your company!