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Blundstone Australia on the key elements of safety footwear.

The choice of safety footwear has implications far exceeding the fundamentally important – and obvious ones – of accident prevention and protection. There is increasing awareness that wearing inappropriate or inadequate footwear can lead to long-term occupational health issues, including physical problems such as knee and back strains and can also be detrimental to a wearer’s mental health.

Footwear has a strong bearing on a wearer’s comfort and wellbeing – possibly more than any other item of apparel. When a worker is on their feet for 8-10 hours a day – often on challenging, slippery, wet and muddy or unevensurfaces – they need to feel confident that their boots are up to the task both from a protective point of view and offering the correct support skeletally as well as underfoot comfort.

Workplace environments and risk factors vary enormously, and work health and safety risk assessments should be consulted before choosing footwear protection. Adrian Blandford, Blundstone’s Global Work and Safety Range Manager sets out some key considerations in the selection of safety footwear.

AS 2210.3:2019 tested
AS 2210.3:2019 is the relevant standard when it comes to safety footwear, with the objective of this standard being to provide manufacturers and users with requirements for footwear intended for use in workplace applications. This standard specifically relates to the safety footwear element of personal protective equipment and ensures that the footwear is compliant in providing the wearer with the best level of safety for every facet including design, upper construction (including leather properties), linings, durability and slip resistance of outsole materials, insoles, toe protection and specific ergonomic features.

Toe cap resistance
Safety footwear is often fitted with toe caps, which are designed to give protection against impact when tested at an energy level of at least 200 joules and against compression when tested at a compression load of at least 15kN. Steel toe caps provide the maximum protection against impact, cuts, penetration and rolling forces such as forklifts and heavy moving machinery. Although steel toe caps are the traditional means of protection in safety footwear, advances in composite toe material have been significant in the last few years. Footwear manufacturers are now able to provide safety alternatives that are not only suitable for light industries such as hospitality, warehousing, and security but also suitable for more robust industries and work environments. That said, for workers whose feet are exposed to the risk of repetitive impacts, penetration or cutting hazards, steel safety toe boots remain as the most suitable option.

Ergonomic features
Another common lower body injury is rolled ankles, which is a prevalent hazard on work sites across Australia. You can help mitigate these risks through the selection of boots that feature wide, flared soles, correct arch support, shanks to ensure torsional stability, quality footbeds and strong and supportive heel counters that assist in decreasing the risk of ankle injury.

Blundstone offer a large range of safety footwear to meet the demands of harsh work environments with new release styles #984 and #243 Crew Boot being particularly suited to landscaping environments.

243 Features include:
• Wheat nubuck, water-resistant upper in a new low-cut design
• Convenient heavy-duty zip with zip fastener
• Coolmax – breathable, moisture wicking lining
• TPU outsole resistant to 140°C. The outsole is also slip, oil, acid and organic fat resistant
• SPS Max—XRD® Technology in the heel and forepart strike zones for increased impact protection
• Removable Comfort Arch footbed with XRD® Extreme Impact Protection forepart insert provides superior comfort
• Electrical hazard resistant
• Steel toe cap, tested to resist a 200-joule impact
• The #243 is available in sizes 5-13 (half sizes 7.5-10.5)

984 Features include:
• Stone water-resistant nubuck, 150mm height, safety boot
• Convenient heavy-duty zip with zip fastener
• Moulded TPU bump cap for added leather protection
• Padded tongue and collar
• Thermal regulating bamboo lining
• Rubber outsole designed to specifically increase slip resistance in varied environments

  • Excellent cut and slip resistance, highly resistant to hydrolysis and microbial attack
  • Heat resistant to 300˚C
  • Oil, acid and organic fat resistant
    • SPS Max – XRD® Technology in the heel and forepart strike zones for increased impact protection
    • Removable Comfort Arch footbed with XRD® Extreme Impact Protection forepart insert for greater impact absorption and comfort
    • Electrical hazard resistant
    • Steel toe cap, tested to resist a 200-joule impact
    • The #984 is available in sizes 3-15 (half sizes 7.5-10.5)

When purchasing safety footwear, it’s important to ensure that the specific needs of your industry are met by your boots. Your health and safety is paramount – you should consider your boots to be the most valuable tool in your toolbox. With so many options on the market, it’s important to remember that not all safety boots are the same. Make sure your choice is fit for purpose and the best option available for you.

Adrian Blandford is the Global Range Manager (Work & Safety) for Blundstone.

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