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A pair of well-worn steel-toe shoes.
A pair of ISO 20345:2004 compliant S3 safety boots.

Steel-toe boots (also known as safety toe boots, steel-capped boots or safety shoe) are durable boots or shoes that have a protective reinforcement in the toe, usually combined with a sole plate, which protect the foot from falling objects and punctures from below.

Although traditionally made of steel, the reinforcement can also be made of a composite material, or a plastic such as thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). Steel-toe boots are important in the construction industry and in many industrial settings. Occupational safety and health legislation or insurance requirements may require the use of such boots in some settings, and may mandate certification of such boots and the display of such certification directly on the boots. In Canada, certified boots have a Canadian Standards Association green triangle on them.

Safety footwear now comes in many styles, including sneakers and clogs. Some are quite formal, for supervising engineers who must visit sites where protective footwear is mandatory.

Some brands of steel-toe footwear, particularly Dr. Martens and Grinders, have become fashionable within subcultures such as skinhead, punk, and rivethead. Brands that were previously renowned within the fashion industry also diversified into the safety footwear market, Rock Fall and Puma to name a few. These are now two of the best selling brands in the UK Safety Market.

Contents

Safety myth

A myth about steel-toe boots is that the inserts actually create a more dangerous environment, because a significant weight could cause the steel to act like a blade, severing the toe instead of the weight simply crushing the foot. However, the weight needed to induce such a failure would result in such severe damage to the toe that amputation would be necessary anyway.[1].

Safety criteria

United States

Most safety shoes have symbols on the outside, to indicate the protection the shoe offers. Examples are:

  • Green Triangle indicates that it is a class 1 toe cap with puncture resistant sole.
  • Yellow Triangle indicates that it is a class 2 toe cap with puncture resistant sole.
  • White Square (with ohm symbol) indicates electrical protection.
  • Yellow Square(with SD) indicates anti-static protection.
  • Red Square(with C) indicates electrically conductive.
  • Fir Tree indicates protection against chain-saws.

In the United States, the applicable standard for protective footwear is ASTM standards F 2412-05, Standard Test Methods for Foot Protection and ASTMF 2413-05, Standard Specification for Performance Requirements for Foot Protection.

OSHA requires compliance of ANSI Z41.1-1991, "American National Standard for Personal Protection-Protective Footwear," if purchased after July 5, 1994 [2].

If purchased before July 5, 1994, ANSI standard "USA Standard for Men's Safety-Toe Footwear," Z41.1-1967 [3].

California has updated its regulations with the new 2005 ASTM standards F 2412-05, Standard Test Methods for Foot Protection and ASTM F 2413-05, Standard Specification for Performance Requirements for Foot Protection. [4].

Canada

Generally, a safety-shoe is a shoe that follows at least one of five criterion. You can determine which criteria your safety-shoes adhere to by looking for CSA's (Canada's Standard Association) alphanumerical code found inside the shoe. This code is made up of a combination of 5 different symbols: 1, 2 or 0 P or 0 M or 0 E, S or C X or 0

  1. The first code indicates if the shoe has a steel-toe cap (a metal shell embedded on top of the toes part of the shoe). "0" means there is none. "1" means that there is, and it resists an impact of 125 joules (22.7 kg object falling from 56 cm above). "2" means that it resists an impact of 90 joules.
  2. The second code indicates if the shoe has soles that protect the arches of the feet from punctures. "P" means it does. "O" means it doesn't.
  3. The third code indicates if the shoe has a metatarsus protection against shocks and collisions. "M" means it does. "O" doesn't.
  4. The fourth code indicates the shoe's electrical properties. "E" means it resists electrical shocks. "S" means it disperses static electrical. "C" means it conducts electricity.
  5. This last code is found only on shoes that protect the foot from chainsaws. "X" it does, "O" does not.

Europe

A pair of ISO 20345:2004 compliant A anti-static shoes.
A pair of ISO 20345:2004 compliant S3 HRO HI CI FPA safety boots for firefighters.

The International Organization for Standardization provides the European standard for Safety footwear. The current one is ISO 20345: 2004[5] - previously BS EN 345-1:1993[6].
The codes applicable to European safety footwear are:

Protected Area Type of Protection Code
Steel Toe Basic Impact 200 joules including compression 15,000 newtons SB
200 joule toecap protection. Closed seat region (fully enclosed heel). Antistatic properties. Energy absorption of seat region. S1
200 joule toecap protection. Closed seat region (fully enclosed heel). Antistatic properties. Energy absorption of seat region. Water penetration and water absorption resistance. S2
200 joule toecap protection. Closed seat region (fully enclosed heel). Antistatic properties. Energy absorption of seat region. Water penetration and water absorption resistance. Sole penetration resistance. Cleated outsole. S3
Additional protections Outsole resistance to hot contact: up to 300 °C HRO
Penetration resistance offered by a steel midsole: 1100 newtons P
Heel energy absorption: 20 joules E
Water penetration-resistant uppers WRU
Electrical resistance Conductive: Maximum resistance 100 kΩ O
Antistatic: Range of 100 kΩ to 1000 MΩ A
Hostile environments Insulation against cold CI
Insulation against heat HI

See also

References








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