We’re back with another article in our Stay Safe on Site series, this time on the importance of good quality safety boots on any job.
Whatever your industry, the safety of yourself and that of your co-workers or employees should always be a top priority. It is important to choose the right workwear and PPE (personal protective equipment) so that you can lower the risk of injury as much as possible, and a pair of good quality safety boots or safety shoes is a great foundation for a PPE kit.
What are the basic requirements of safety boots, and why are they important?
In general, the safety element of a pair of work boots is made up of 4 main components: steel toe-cap and midsole, grip, and support.
This protects your feet from being crushed by falling objects such as concrete, wood and tools. Steel toe-cap boots also prevent accidental damage from projectiles such as nails fired from a nail gun.
This is important protection, as being struck by moving/falling objects caused 937 injuries in the UK construction industry during 2011/12p.
This protects you in the event that you step on something sharp such as nail or broken glass.
It is important to note that some safety footwear uses multi-layer textile composite midsoles, but steel is a much better option as it is stronger, its quality is more consistent, and it is much less likely to become loose through regular wear.
There are all sorts of conditions that could result in a slippery surface – a burst pipe, spilled liquids, polished floors, or just good ol’ British rain! According to the HSE, 25% of major UK construction injuries in 2011/12p (558 injuries) were caused by slips, trips and falls on the level. This risk of a fall can be greatly reduced by a good pair of slip-proof work boots that are securely fitted.
Comfort is important when working on any project. As a professional on site it is essential that you are comfortable, undistracted and completely focused on the task at hand when working with dangerous tools and equipment.
Many jobsites, especially in demolition work, are littered with rubble and involve walking on very uneven ground. Safety footwear with good foot and ankle support reduce the risk of injuries that at best may result in time off work, but at worst could involve a serious or fatal injury if the fall occurs when using a power tool.
Still don’t believe that safety boots are necessary?
Well Buckler Boots have some stories that might just change your mind! There are numerous reviews on Buckler’s website that show just how much their customers love their safety boots. One in particular sticks out as an excellent example of the invaluable protection that safety footwear provides:
The biggest and most important story comes from Colin Hutchinson, who was working as an HGV driver until in 2007 a forklift truck ran over his feet and up his legs. He suffered extensive damage to his legs, and it took 10 months and numerous operations for him to begin to take his first steps towards walking again. If it hadn’t been for the high quality of his safety boots, Colin’s feet would have been damaged to such an extent that he would be unable to walk ever again.
Sling Those Hooks!
Buckler Boots have also launched their own safety campaign that is worth noting here, called “Sling Those Hooks” To lace many safety boots you must wind the laces through hooks at the top of the boot rather than pull them through holes. The problem is that these hooks don’t only hook when you want them to!
There have been incidences of hooks catching on the laces on the opposite boot, catching on wire fences, and catching on twine on the ground. This accidental hooking can lead to serious injury or even death if you are on a ladder or up on scaffolding.
In fact, the HSE have found that falls from height made up 29% of serious injuries (647 injuries) and 51% of fatalities (25 fatalities) in the construction industry in 2011/12p. Even on the ground, tripping over the laces of your safety shoes could prove very painful if carrying a heavy load or working around active power tools.
Reducing this risk even slightly with the removal of lace hooks is definitely worth it!
What types of safety boots are available?
Buckler safety boots come in many styles – rigger boots, dealer boots, hiking boots, Wellington boots (the fantastic Buckbootz range), and they even have safety trainers! Other important features to consider when choosing safety boots are water resistance, flexibility, robustness of materials used, and overall comfort.
But don’t forget the most important feature: the safety.
Note: All HSE statistics taken from the report “Construction: Work Related Injuries and Ill Health”