Well first of all…you might be thinking, is metal-free Safety Footwear really safe?
We know that steel toe and midsole safety footwear has been regarded as the favoured choice for foot protection across most industries, for many years. More recently however, without compromising on safety, metal-free footwear (also known as composite) is replacing traditional steel toe and midsole safety footwear at scale, which is not surprising given the many benefits of choosing to go metal-free.
So what are the top 3 benefits of metal-free Safety Footwear?
1. WORKING IN A SECURITY CONSCIOUS ENVIRONMENT
Metal-Free footwear is non-negotiable in high security environments, such as airports, military bases and government buildings, as workers are routinely scanned, preventing theft or prevention of weapons being bought in. In these environments if footwear is not metal-free, it must be removed beforehand, compromising on safety.
2. BETTER PROTECTION WITHOUT THE UNNECESSARY WEIGHT
Composite footwear (metal-free) features a toe or midsole that is made from incredibly tough, yet lightweight material, such as fibreglass, Kevlar or carbon fibre. Offering superior strength and support, as well as a thermoneutral temperature, and increased agility, without compromising the protection of the wearer’s feet. To be sure look for metal-free composite footwear that meets or exceeds the stringent ISO 20345 – S1 or SIP standards.
3. PREVENTS POST-IMPACT TRAPPING
Composite footwear, in particular a composite toecap is made from material that lets the footwear recover its shape following significant impact. A steel toecap on the other hand, bends into a fixed position and can trap parts of the feet after a serious accident, making it extremely difficult and in some instances very painful to try and remove the foot. When buying or supplying safety footwear please ensure you take into consideration the impact rating (tells you the number of pounds or joules the shoe will protect you against) and compression rating (lets you know the amount of resistance the shoe could cope with before breaking) of the footwear.
Want to know more about Standards for Safety Footwear? Check out our chart below…
EN ISO 20345: 2011 This international standard specifies basic and additional (optional) requirements for safety footwear used for general purposes. It includes, for example, mechanical risks, slip resistance, thermal risks, ergonomic behaviour.
And what about Slip Hazards ratings?
While safety footwear can help protect the foot from injury, another common accident can simply involve the wearer slipping on wet or oily floors. This has been overlooked in the past, but has become more important in recent years with the introduction of EN ISO 13287. This standard covers the slip resistance of footwear in two basic scenarios, either individually or combined.
SRA Slip Resistance
This tests the footwear for slipping on a ceramic tiled floor, coated with a soap solution. There are two tests involved to cover a ‘flat slip’ and a ‘heel slip’. Footwear carrying the SRA marking must achieve a minimum coefficient of friction in both tests.
SRB Slip Resistance
This tests the footwear for slipping on a steel plate, coated with glycerine. There are two tests involved to cover a ‘flat slip’ and a ‘heel slip’. Footwear carrying the SRB marking must achieve a minimum coefficient of friction in both tests.
SRC Slip Resistance
Footwear rated as SRC has been tested to SRA and SRB, and achieved at least a minimum coefficient of friction in both tests.
Look out for this symbol in our catalogue, to see which safety footwear items are metal-free!