A Safety Footwear Guide

As a business owner or employer, it is your legal obligation to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for your workers and even yourself, and this includes safety footwear. However, before you go and buy any footwear, you have to keep in mind that you need to provide the appropriate safety footwear. If you haven’t done this already, you should carry out a risk assessment of your workplace first. This ensures that you have determined hazards to your workers, thus allowing you to provide the correct footwear based on those hazards (e.g. steel toe cap boots, anti-slip boots, etc.). You should also bear in mind that the safety footwear must meet legal standards, be reviewed on a regular basis, be maintained and replaced as needed.


Once you have completed your risk assessment and identified the risks as well as the potential risks, what you should do is find ways to minimize those risks as much as possible. Eliminating those risks completely is highly unlikely, but even if you do, you still need to provide PPE.


If you have identified the following, here’s what you should do:


*Falling objects – In such situations, your employees should be wearing footwear with composite or steel toe caps.

*Sharp objects – In such situations, your employees should opt for footwear with composite or steel midsoles to prevent punctures.

*Slippery surfaces – In such situations, provide footwear that come with non-slip soles.

*Use of chemicals – In such situations, your employees should be wearing footwear made from materials that are specifically resistant to those chemicals.

* Extreme temperatures – In such situations, your employees should have footwear with heat-resistant soles, especially if they work in hot conditions. Footwear with good ventilation and insulation is the best choice for those working in cold conditions.

* Ankle of heel injuries – In such situations, your employees should wear footwear that comes with ankle and heel support and protection as well as heel shock absorbers.

*Biohazards – In such situations, provide your employees with easy-clean, machine washable footwear.

*Long working hours – If your employees are working long hours, you should make sure that the footwear they are wearing is comfortable with insoles and shock absorber heels. They should also have waterproof footwear if they are required to work outside.


Once you have identified the best type of footwear for your workers and their working environment, you have to ensure that your employees wear them and that their footwear is properly maintained. This can be done by carrying out regular footwear inspections. Look out for things such as dented steel toe caps, treads or soles that are showing signs of wear or damage.


If you find that the footwear is not fit for its current purpose, you can either repair the footwear, of if it is already beyond repair, then have them replaced.

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