5 Easy Steps for Choosing Foot Protection
Want to be sure your workers have the right foot protection on the job – but just not sure where to start? Choosing protective footwear is no easy task! Critically, incorrect or insufficient footwear can lead to compliance issues and even worker injury in the event of an incident. Follow just a few key steps to be sure your workers are safe, comfortable and well-protected!
Step 1: Do workers require footwear with a safety toe cap? If so, reference standard ASTM F2412, Standard Test Methods for Foot Protection, and ASTM F2413, Standard Specification for Performance Requirements for Protective (Safety) Toe Cap Footwear. These standards govern test methods and performance requirements for safety toe footwear.
Step 2: Assess other workplace safety hazards. Do workers need to be protected against heavy falling objects or sharp objects? What about electrical hazards? Identifying the hazard(s) and selecting boots that protect against the hazard is the key to ensuring workers are protected.
Step 3: Understand the standards that inform worker foot protection. There are seven protective properties – described more fully in our previous post.
- Impact resistance (I): protects the toe area of the foot.
- Compression resistance (C): protects the toe area of the foot.
- Metatarsal impact protection (Mt): protects the metatarsal bones at the top of the foot.
- Conductive properties (Cd): reduce hazards resulting from static electricity buildup and reduces the possibility of ignition of explosives and volatile chemicals.
- Electric hazard protection (EH): protects the worker from accidental contact with a live wire. The test measures how much current can travel through the sole of the boot.
- Static dissipative properties (SD): reduce hazards due to excessively low footwear electrical resistance that may exist where SD footwear is required.
- Puncture resistance (PR) footwear devices: protects from sharp objects that can penetrate the bottom assembly of the footwear.
Note: Description of protective properties paraphrased from ASTM F2412 and ASTM F2413.
As mentioned in our previous post, one of the biggest misconceptions related to ASTM F2413 is the idea that footwear needs to “meet” the standard. Footwear does not need to meet all of the requirements listed above to conform to ASTM F2413 – in fact, it would be highly unusual for any one product to meet all of the protective requirements. The product must clearly state which of the requirements the footwear does meet.
If workers do not require footwear with a safety toe cap, reference ASTM F2892, Standard Specification for Performance Requirements for Soft Toe Protective Footwear (Non-Safety / Non-Protective Toe). Because there are many jobs that do not require toe protection from impact or compression, ASTM developed soft toe (non-safety) footwear performance requirements to protect workers’ feet from the following hazards:
- Conductive properties (Cd)
- Electric hazard protection (EH)
- Static dissipative properties (SD)
- Puncture resistance (PR) footwear devices
Note: Description of protective properties paraphrased from ASTM F2892.
Step 4: Identify additional needs. There are a broad variety of boots available on the market that go well beyond meeting the standards, offering protection against weather and offering additional benefits for specific jobs. Look for insulated or waterproof boots for workers that require cold and wet weather protection. Workers that pass through metal detectors to get to their worksite – for example, those that work in nuclear power plants – will benefit from products with composite toe or shanks. And, Linemen will benefit for boots with shanks designed to support utility pole-climbing. Many of the boots are EH-rated and meet the specifications of ASTM F2412, F2413, and F2892, the most recent standards for footwear. In addition, there are other protective characteristics that may be important to workers:
- Steel toe boots provide a steel protective covering over the toe, which protects the wearer from injury – meeting ASTM standards for impact and compression. Steel toes are generally required by most industries, but are uncomfortable for people who walk long distances (like meter readers) and difficult for those who go through metal detectors in the course of their daily work (like nuclear workers).
- Composite toe boots include non-metallic, non-magnetic protective covering over the toe, which resists corrosion and serves the same function as the steel toe—except it does not set off metal detectors. Tyndale’s composite toe boot meets ASTM standards for impact and compression.
- Steel shank boots contain metal plates in the sole of the boot that make it more comfortable for a worker to stand on a narrow peg for a long period of time. It also provides extra support for the foot and is used for climbing utility poles.
- Composite shank boots contain non-metal plates in the sole of the boot, serving the same function as a steel shank.
- Insulated boots are lightweight, quick-drying with moisture resistant insulation designed for protection against the cold in cooler climates and winter weather.
- Waterproof boots offer seam-sealed construction and waterproof leather and help to keep feet dry.
Tyndale also offers women’s boots with protective toes and recommends purchasing these instead of men’s boots when a protective toe is needed.
Step 5: Make meeting the protective standards easy!
Tyndale offers a variety of boot program options to meet the needs of any organization requiring foot protection for their employees. Let Tyndale manage the program so you can manage your business! Tyndale offers a variety or protective footwear – from electric hazard protection, impact resistance, compression resistance, static dissipative properties, and more, protecting against on-the-job hazards while meeting your company’s specific requirements and budget.
The goal of our program is to deliver flexibility, choice and convenience to your company’s employees while eliminating the burden of ordering, enforcing spend, tracking, and distributing boots. Take advantage of a Tyndale managed boot program with our flexible options:
- Buy direct from Tyndale: Include an assortment of quality boots alongside FRC in your company’s catalog.
- Buy online or at a local store: Allow employees to purchase their preferred boots and submit their receipt – with supervisor signoff – to Tyndale for processing and reimbursement out of the employee’s managed program account. Transaction fee applies.
- Leverage an add-on program: Create a separate boot catalog, along with a boot-specific allowance or allotment.
Ready to Get Started with a Boot Program Extension? Contact your National Account Executive or call us at 800-356-3433 today.