Safety footwear for work - What you need to know...

Under Health and Safety law, your employers are obliged to provide you with safety equipment (PPE) if there is a risk to your health and safety at work that cannot be adequately controlled by other means. The safety boots they provide have to conform to safety regulations designed to protect workers in potentially hazardous environments, and there is a whole host of safety foot wear aimed at a variety of  trades and levels of hazard. It is therefore important that you choose the correct safety boots for your particular work environment, so read on!

The term 'safety boots' generally refers to a boot which has a safety toe cap. This may be the traditional steel toe, or a more modern lightweight composite toe. In addition safety boots may have a steel or composite plate through the sole, to guard against sharp objects through the bottom of your feet! Leather safety boots are the most popular safety footwear on the market, and are ideal for protecting the feet against moisture and dirt, as well as giving the required toe protection against falling objects. Being a natural fibre, they also tend to keep feet warm in cold weather, whilst allowing feet to breathe in the hotter months. These types of steel toe capped boots are ideal for the construction industry, and are regularly worn by bricklayers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters and plasterers to guard against building site hazards. Composite toe capped boots are non metallic and therefore ideal for those working in x-ray environments such as customs areas and airports. In addition, composite safety footwear is much lighter and warmer to wear than steel, and is growing in popularity across all industries for this reason.

General safety boots come in a variety of shapes and sizes for all tastes - traditional lace-up or side zip safety boots, slip-on style safety rigger boots, safety trainers for those who prefer a lightweight and compact safety shoe, and lastly ladies safety shoes for women who are required to wear safety footwear but need either to wear a skirt or look smart for work.

There are a variety of more specialist safety boots on the market, which cater for the specific needs of other trades. Metatarsal safety boots, for example, offer extra protection to the glazing industry by protecting the delicate bones in the feet with an extended steel cap. Foundry boots are designed to be quick release safety boots, so that a worker can easily remove them in the event of a fire hazard. A variety of safety wellington boots (safety wellies) offer a fully waterproof solution to the agricultural and food preparation industries. In fact anywhere where footwear is coming into contact with harmful liquids or where hygiene is paramount, and where a leather boot would not be appropriate.