What Are Safety Shoes and Are They Needed?

Safety shoes are a necessity in many industries, and there are safety standards that instruct which features your industry should rely on. They come in a wide variety of styles, and designs, with a slate of different features depending on the job. 15% of Australia’s work injuries come as the result of a slip, trip or fall, while over 18% are due to falling objects. This highlights the importance of safety shoes, even now with a range of health and safety standards in place. They are a part of the personal protection equipment piece that reduces the risk of serious injury. 

What Are Safety Shoes?

Safety shoes were invented in the early 1900s in response to wartime safety issues. It wouldn’t be until years later, that countries across the globe would take steps to put health and safety guidelines in place for employers. Safety shoes were initially shoes that provided additional protection in the toe region. Anti-slip, sharp object protection and temperature resistance would come later but is equally as important. 

Safety shoes are defined as footwear that offers protective features to prevent or reduce the risk of injuries. 

Why You Need Safety Shoes

There are a variety of issues that make safety shoes a necessity, but ultimately, it depends on the industry you operate in. 

Foot injuries due to falling objects are a great risk, so additional protection for toes is vital. Other foot injury risks include rolling objects, sharps, and electrical hazards. Safety shoes can mitigate the risk of these outcomes. If feet are exposed to the risk of cutting or penetrative hazards or repetitive impact, the appropriate safety footwear must be used. Additionally, proper safety shoes should provide additional metatarsal protection, which is the area between the toes and ankles. Manufacturing plants and construction sites, in particular, will need additional protection against penetration including steel midsoles and insole protection.

Weather resistance is another key feature that many safety shoes provide. While some workers will require water-resistance safety footwear, others will need additional protection for cold weather to protect against frostbite. This is a common necessity for outdoor workers or those who work in and out of freezers. 

Ergonomic features are an important aspect of safety footwear, as rolled ankles are a relatively common injury on Australian worksites. Wide flared soles with adequate arch support are excellent options to reduce this risk, as are quality footbeds and supportive heel counters. 

If there is a risk of chemical spills or contact, then chemical resistance is necessary. Safety shoes are often oil-resistant, but many test against acetic acid, caustic soda, and more. In addition, you can choose anti-static, chainsaw cut resistance, electric shock resistance, dielectric insulation, and more. 

Final Thoughts

There is a wide range of options available for any industry in need of appropriate safety shoes. While some are heavily regulated and require these, other industries can still benefit from additional safety measures to protect their workers. You should always carry out risk assessments across every position in your company to determine which features are necessary for your business and in line with government regulations.