Foot Safety: How to Choose the Best Footwear for Construction Work

Protective shoes

Construction work is an extremely dangerous profession. One of the most common hazards involves foot and leg injuries sustained by falling or rolling objects, extremely hot, poisonous, or corrosive substances, heavy materials, electrical hazards, slippery surfaces, or static electricity. One way to protect the feet and legs is by wearing protective footwear.

Selecting the right protective footwear

Depending on your workplace and what hazards you’re exposed to, you’ll need specific safety shoes to protect your feet. The following are some examples of gear you might need:

  • Safety toe shoes like gumboots steel toe shoes are required for jobs in the construction industry with an increased risk of heavy objects dropping, crushing, or rolling on your feet. They must follow the minimum impact performance and compression standards in ANSI Z41-1999 or anything of equivalent protection.
  • Heat-resistant soles can protect your feet against extremely hot surfaces in roofing, paving, and hot metal industries.
  • Electrically conductive shoes protect the feet against static electricity, significantly reducing the risk of a spark causing an explosion or fire.
  • Electric hazard shoes prevent you from completing a circuit with the ground, which acts as a secondary source of electric hazard protection against stepping on live electrical circuits, electrically energized conductors or parts.
  • Metatarsal guards are used to protecting the instep area from compression and impact. They’re usually made out of aluminum, fiber, steel, or plastic and are strapped to the outside of regular protective work shoes.
  • Rubber overshoes are ideal for areas where flooding happens often, and in concrete work as well.
  • Shoes that have slip-resistant soles are used in workplaces with areas that have wet floors where slips and falls happen often.
  • Studded treads and overshoes are used when working on snow-covered walking surfaces or ice.

Choosing the right fit for your safety footwear

  • Footwear should be tried on during the midday since feet tend to swell during the day.
  • Break in your new footwear by walking in it at home. Be sure to walk around when you’re trying them on to make sure they’re comfortable.
  • Ensure that you have ample wiggle room for your toes, especially for extra socks or special arch supports. Your footwear will not stretch with constant wear. While trying on your boots, wear the supports or socks that you usually wear at work.
  • Your boots should fit snugly around your heel and ankle when laced up.
  • Always make sure that you lace up your boots fully.

How to care for your footwear

Man wearing protective shoes

  • Spray on protective coating on your footwear to make them water-resistant.
  • Thoroughly inspect footwear regularly for damage such as breaks in leather or cracks in soles.
  • If you notice that your footwear is defective or worn out, replace them immediately with a new pair.
  • When your footwear is worn out and constantly exposed to wet conditions, its electric shock resistance properties are greatly reduced. It’s important to either replace them or have them repaired.
  • You should also replace footwear that has been exposed to sole penetration or impact. They may not have visible signs of damage, so you should replace them immediately after the event happens.

If you work in a construction site, it’s absolutely necessary to protect your feet and legs with the appropriate gear and footwear.

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