When you're responsible for safety footwear for your teams, you are a front-line of defense against painful injuries and costly accidents. Your strategic prevention of these incidents is key to a successful safety program. Read on to see which types of safety boots are best for 3 specific industries (and the PPE footwear regulations that support these recommendations).
Which Safety Boots are Best for Rail, Construction and Warehouse Environments?
For the rail industry, common hazards your teams face are uneven surfaces and difficult environments. Fast-changing factors like weather and environment hazards--like natural surfaces, sharp corners or walking miles--are dangers to your team's feet.
Our recommendation for the best footwear type for rail teams is a 6-inch boot or better. It should be made of sturdy construction (fully welted is a plus). They should also be waterproof and/or insulated where applicable to help your teams fend against the outdoor elements. Brands such as Ariat, Justin, Thorogood, Timberland and others have great options for this type of boot, but we have many other options to explore here with the filters on the left-hand side.
Warehouse and other indoor distribution business are growing quickly, but this doesn't mean the common hazards aren't keeping up. Teams here often face heat, slippery surfaces and repetitive movements--like box-packing.
Proper safety footwear for warehouse teams can be lighter-weight, athletic- or hiker-style options. They can have cement or direct-attach construction, composite or alloy toe caps, and waterproof or insulated are normally not required here. Brands such as Avenger, KEEN, Reebok and others are ideal, and you can explore additional options by filtering here.
On the average construction site, your teams are up against many hazards, like mixed environments (meaning it's hard to predict exact surfaces they'll come across), indoor or outdoor needs, exposure to the elements, puncture hazards from nails and even discarded materials.
The best footwear type for construction sites is very similar to our recommendations for rail, with the core difference being that some construction sites do not require protective toe. But puncture-resistant (PR) materials is a plus, and brands such as Justin, Thorogood, Timberland and Wolverine are great--while you can explore more options using the filters here.
What PPE Regulations Are In Place for These Environments?
In order to stay compliant and keep your teams protected at the highest possible standards, you can't forget the PPE regulations in place that you should follow.
When it comes to safety footwear, however, OSHA's guidelines are somewhat vague: it simply states that employees "should wear PPE footwear" as a guideline.
However, ANSI standards really give parameters for you to ensure you're aiming for the best possible ways to keep injuries at bay. This is where ASTM 2413-18 comes into play.
To download a full infographic guide (shown right) on AST 2413-18 and learn to read labels properly on your safety boot options, download your copy of this printable guide now.
How Do I Arm My Team To Select and (Approve of) The Perfect Safety Boots and Shoes?
We are frequently asked by safety procurement or purchasing teams how to take team feedback into consideration when it comes to building a strategic boot and shoe program. It's not uncommon to hear that a particular type of boot is uncomfortable or overheating in certain environments.
It's essential to consider proper shoe sizing and education as you select the right styles to offer your teams. Your teams need to be fully aware of the stark contrasts between the average shoe and a protective safety boot when it comes to weight, fit and sizing. And it can be confusing when manufacturers have sizing for models or specific shoes with slight variations.
There are two key pieces of advice we can provide now:
- When it comes to comfort, the sturdier the shoe, the longer it will take for your team members to break them in. This may cause some initial discomfort, but as the shoe adapts, any discomfort should certainly go away.
- Make sure you carefully study any variations in sizing to help your teams successfully navigate their choices in sizes depending on your selected styles and manufacturers.
ORR Safety is your expert partner when it comes to building successful boot and shoe programs in all of the above environments. We can leverage our knowledge to help you choose the right options for your teams that are cost-effective and up-to-par, no matter the setting.
Want to learn more about creating or restructuring a boot and shoe program to save you more time and money? Click here to learn more about the ORR Boot and Shoe Program and discuss your unique situation with one of our boot and shoe experts.