On most construction sites and in many industrial settings, protective footwear is more than a luxury – it’s a necessity. As a matter of fact, the United States Department of Labor requires that employers take steps to ensure that workers are protected from foot injuries. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulations state that protective footwear is essential when employees are working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects. Other working conditions under which OSHA mandates protective footwear is when there is a danger of foot injuries from sharp objects piercing the sole or where there is an exposure to electrical hazards. Safety standards have also been established for workers in Canada and Europe.
Whether you’re looking for steel toe office shoes or composite toe work boots, providing safety footwear for yourself or your work crew will greatly reduce the risk of avoidable injury in the workplace or out in the field. Hard plastics, such as thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), are also sometimes used as reinforcement in safety shoes. Steel toe boots and other types of safety shoes are available from a wide range of shoe and boot manufacturers, including Carolina, Chippewa, Magnum, Skechers, Dunham, Timberland, and Wolverine. Magnum safety shoes and boots are geared to those in law enforcement, the military, firefighters, and rescue personnel. For people who prefer the look of running shoes, as opposed to safety shoes, Skechers makes a variety of steel-toe athletic shoes that provide the cushioning and construction of a running shoe, while meeting federal ASTM standards for protective footwear.
Safety shoes with protective steel toe caps or composite material reinforcement are available in a variety of styles, and can chosen to fit in with most work environments, company cultures, and job titles. Wolverine, for example, offers a steel-toe, static dissipating Oxford safety shoe that might be the shoe of choice for company executives or supervising engineers who wear business attire. The more casual styles of protective boots and safety shoes can range from steel toe athletic shoes to waterproof steel-toe logger boots. Many steel toe work shoes and boots are also electrical hazard rated – a necessary precaution in some work environments against the risk of electrocution. Safety boots that are intended to provide protection against chain saws usually indicate that in some way, such as displaying a symbol of a fir tree on the product.
So whether you’re shopping for steel toe boots, safety shoes, or composite toe shoes, consider footwear that features a puncture-resistant sole and an electrical hazard rating if your work environment warrants those types of protections. If you order your safety shoes or work boots over the Internet, make sure the online merchant has a customer-friendly return or exchange policy (in case there’s a problem with fit). The major advantage of shopping for safety footwear on the Internet is that you can go from one web store to the next without having to battle traffic, find a parking spot, or leave the comfort of your home or office. If you’re shopping for hard-to-find sizes, conducting the search from your computer can make your quest much less frustrating and more productive.