Carpenters, electricians, plumbers, construction workers – these and similar professions come with a variety of safety risks that the average worker doesn’t face. These rare and valuable individuals are constantly surrounded by machinery, heavy objects and electrical circuits, so they need to take extra precautions and protect themselves from head to toes.
Workwear for heavy-duty professions can be considered its own science. There are many factors one needs to pay attention to in order to make sure they have the appropriate protection on the job. Especially footwear. Many jobs require workers to lift, move and work with heavy objects and stand for long periods of time. That being said, it’s not surprising that foot injuries are some of the most common work-related injuries in Australia.
The right type of footwear can reduce the risk of foot injuries as well as other injuries and health problems. Bad footwear results in bad body posture and this can lead to pain and problems in the knees, hips and back as well. Any type of injury can result in workers being unable to work and employers needing to pay immense amounts of compensation. So, how to choose the best safety footwear and prevent accidents from happening? Here are some tips on what to look for.
Make Sure the Boots Have Safety Toe Caps
Whether you’re planning to purchase safety work boots online or from a local workwear store, make sure to check whether the toe-area has extra protection. The toes are the most fragile part of the foot and the most likely to be injured by falling objects or punctures. With that being said, it’s very important that you pick work boots with a protective toe cap. Safety toe footwear features caps which can be made out of steel, aluminium, or composite materials. Steel and aluminium toe caps provide the greatest protection against heavy objects or punctures. However, if your job involves working around electrical currents, obviously you will want to avoid wearing anything made out of metal on you. In this case, a much safer option would be to choose safety toe footwear with composite caps.
Check Whether the Soles Are Slip-Resistance
Falling objects and punctures are not the only way your feet can get hurt. Slips, trips and falls can also lead to serious injuries such as fractures. For this reason, it’s important to invest in safety boots that have 100% slip-resistant soles. How resistant the soles are to slips all depends on the kind of material they’re made of and their texture. As rubber has a natural gripping ability, soles made of this material can withstand slips on surfaces that are slippery, wet or covered in oil or abrasions.
There are safety work boots with soles made of TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) which has great elasticity that makes it ideal for jobs involving a lot of movement. These types of soles are not only resistant to slips and oil, but to chemical damage as well, making them suitable for workers around plants.
Look for Weatherproof Materials
Since manual labour workers often work in all kinds of weather conditions and terrain, their footwear should be able to provide them with adequate protection against the elements. This means that it’s important to pick shoes made from weather-friendly materials. Rubber and PVC are popular materials for uppers as they are resistant to water, while also being lightweight, flexible and easy to clean. On the other hand, full-grain leather is also waterproof and has extraordinary strength and durability.
Additionally, it’s good to have two pairs of work boots – one for warm weather and one for colder weather. When shopping for winter work boots, you should also make sure that the inside of the boots is covered with an insulation layer that can keep feet warm. This will ensure your feet stay properly protected even when working in harsh winter conditions.
But Don’t Overlook Comfort
And last, but not least, your work boots should also be comfortable to wear for long periods of time. They should allow you to stay active without your feet aching at the end of the day. For that reason, you need to make sure you have the correct fit. But shoe size isn’t always a good indication of fit. Keep in mind that when standing or being active for long periods of time, your feet will start to swell. So, it can be a good idea to pick a slightly bigger size of work shoes, or at least go for an adjustable design featuring laces or straps.
Cushioning is also important for comfort. Boots with thick insoles will reduce the impact on your feet from the ground and make standing more comfortable. Additionally, good insoles also redistribute your body’s weight evenly, thus helping to relieve pressure points, making you feel a whole lot better.