What footwear suits your safety needs?

There are several different types of footwear that hold up better in certain situations, and working in the industrial realm means that you need to be aware of what gear you should be donning. Four main different categories can help you decide which types of footwear you should have on hand. 

1. Impact/compression-proof

These boots are the most basic type of boot required. They have a steel or nonmetallic toe that prevents injury from heavy object. Most, if not all, of industrial work requires steel-toes shoes. .

2. Metatarsal

These shoes are meant to reduce injuries when the upper foot and toe areas are exposed to "drop" hazards. Metatarsal guards can be within the shoe or on the outside. In the steel industry, these boots are often required because they can prevent injury when heavy objects drop. These types of shoes tend to be heavy and cumbersome.

3. Puncture-resistant

This footwear lowers the possibility of puncture wounds to the soles of feet often caused by nails or sharp metals.

4. Electrical hazard (EH)

These shoes are designed to reduce the potential for electric shock. Work situations where this footwear is appropriate include the presence of live electrical conductors and construction worksites. The insulating factors to these types of shoes can be compromised when wet.

A lot of work will require a type of footwear that falls into more than one laid out here. For example, heavy construction will require extra heel protection, steel-toe and metatarsal guards that are adequate to perform indoor and outdoor work.

When considering which footwear to bring to a site, consider other factors such as traction, chemical exposure and exposure to extreme temperatures -- be it cold or hot.

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