The most common type of safety footwear, with protective toe caps and numerous other safety features such as slip-resistant soles, penetration-resistant midsoles, and insulation against extreme heat and cold. Because of recent legislative changes, PPE is now provided by the employer at no cost to the worker. However, with so many options for safety footwear on the market, it can be difficult to determine exactly what your workforce requires and which products meet the needs of the tasks and workers involved. The descriptions for the soles range from ‘improving grip performance’ to ‘excellent multi-directional slip resistance.’ Frequently, footwear is simply described as’slip-resistant,’ with no indication of the conditions for which the footwear is best suited.
In addition to slip resistance, when choosing footwear, consider comfort, durability, and any other safety features that may be required, such as toe protection. Even the HSE believes that the final decision will have to be a compromise.
Safety footwear, like all types of PPE, should only be used as a “last resort” after all other reasonable or practical measures to manage the risk have been exhausted. Before purchasing safety footwear, consult a recent risk assessment for the workplace you are purchasing for, or conduct one if one does not already exist.