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Selecting Safety Footwear

1st December 2019

Though not always possible for footwear to completely eliminate hazard risk, minimisation is possible. Such risks can be minor, where working conditions are temperature-sensitive. Risks can escalate, however, with the possibility of falling loads, slippery surfaces and other hazards.

When tasked with buying footwear for employees, there are multiple measures in which employers are able to buy against:

  • Safety footwear must be EN ISO 20345:2004 compliant.
  • Tailor footwear to the work at hand, deciding on sole patterns, deep treads and materials for different conditions, including thermally insulating, water-resistant, anti-slip, chemical resistant soles, oil-resistant, shock-absorbing and anti-static.
  • When employees are testing shoes, ensure their socks are not too tight to avoid toe cramping.
  • Trialling footwear with staff to check factors such as comfort, practicality and receive feedback.

Footwear which has passed the EN test for slip resistance is then given one of three codes.

SRA – Resistant on Ceramic + Sodium Lauryl Sulphate

SRB – Resistant on Steel + Glycerol

SRC – Resistant under both SRA and SRB Conditions

SRC is currently the highest rating for slip resistance under EN ISO 20345:2011.

Ultimately, it is in the employer’s interest to source footwear that will best suit the working environment. Not only can potential accident cost, by choosing the right choice of footwear, workers can not only improve their productivity, but they can put their best foot forward.


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