What To Consider When Choosing Safety Footwear For Your Workforce
Many people underestimate the importance of a good quality safety shoe, but with the shocking statistic that slips; trips and falls account for 37% of all reported workplace injuries in recent years, it’s vital that all employers get it right. This article will discuss possible implementations in terms of supplying the right safety equipment to achieve the best slip resistance for your workforce, depending on the environment in which they work.
Choosing Safety Footwear
There are many safety shoes on offer in today's market which have a strong emphasis on enhancing work safety, but what is important to remember is to make sure they compliment the flooring they will be working on everyday. Below are a few examples of what type of footwear to consider when you have a particularly hazardous flooring environment:
- If you are working on steel flooring with the risk of water, some of the best footwear include those similar to the Tredsafe Chef shoes or the Dunlop Purofort Wellington. The importance here is finding a shoe that has a high grip sole and toe protection as steel is very strong and could cause damage to the toes if accidentally knocked.
- Be wary, steel floors with the risk of contamination of Glycerol are one of the hardest flooring to find shoes with high slip resistance. Research has previously found that, out of the select shoes tested, only one type of shoe posed a ‘moderate slip resistance’ and this was the ‘Shoes for Crews’ brand. In this scenario it is extremely important to do thorough research as all other safety shoes tested posed an extremely high slip risk to workers.
- For working on Quarry Tiles with the risk of contamination of Glycerol the following examples, or similar, are often recommended; Inyati green wellington or Slips Grips - Spider Grip soles. Again, the emphasis on this flooring material is to find a shoe that has plenty of grip as slip resistance is extremely high without it. Having a flat, smooth sole would be detrimental to workers safety.
Choosing Correct Flooring
So far, we have focused on selecting the best safety shoe for specific flooring materials however it is also important to consider a floor texture that helps to reduce slips and enhance grip in the first instance.
It’s important to ensure that all flooring adheres to HSE slip resistance regulations to maximise work safety. In order to do this, you should be aware of the following characteristics of poor quality flooring which can reduce slip resistance:
- Uneven, loose and chipped concrete or tiles
- Potential for contamination of flooring
- Worn, scuffed carpets or flooring caused by high footfall
Another point to consider is that flooring may have been originally installed for a different purpose to how it is being used presently, therefore it may no longer be suitable for its current use. For example, if you have recently purchased a new workspace the flooring may not show any of the above characteristics but may still need to be replaced to suit your business and safety needs.
In cases where you are unsure as to whether your flooring is fit for purpose, or if the footwear supplied for your workforce is compatible, it is recommended that you have a specialist carry out a slip resistant and pendulum slip test on both the floors and the footwear. Competent slip testing companies such as National Testing are able to carry out full risk assessments to instruct your business on any modifications if needed.
If you think that your flooring needs to be risk assessed and professionally tested in order to ensure it meets slip resistance regulations, contact the team at National Testing on 01948 822099 to book your test with us today. We operate nationwide with fast turnaround times and little disruption to your business.