Whether you’re working on a construction site, as a professional tradesman, or simply on a home DIY project, safety should always be a top priority. Many accidents happen every day due to people taking unnecessary risks with their safety when using power tools and working with heavy materials, so it is important to always make sure that you choose the right PPE (personal protective equipment) to lower the risks as much as possible. A pair of good quality safety boots is just one of the necessary PPE items, but an important one. So what are the basic requirements of a safety boot? In general, the safety element of a pair of boots is made up of 3 main components:
- Steel toe-cap and steel midsole. These are both incredibly important. The former protects your feet from being crushed by falling objects such as concrete, wood or tools. It also prevents accidental damage from projectiles such as nails from a nail gun. The steel midsole protects you in the event that you step on something sharp such as nail. As a professional, if your feet are damaged it can mean a lot of time off work and lots of lost income, however foot protection is still very important for anyone working with large, heavy materials or in areas where there is potential damage from sharp debris. It is important to note that some boots use multi layer textile composite midsoles, but steel is a much better option as it is stronger, its quality is more consistent, and they are much less likely to become loose through regular wear.
- Grip. There are all sorts of conditions that could result in a slippery surface – a burst pipe, spilled liquids, polished floors, or just good old rain! It is very important that your boots maintain a good grip on these surfaces at all times to avoid serious accident or injury.
- Support. Comfort is important when working on any project – as a professional on site it is important that you are comfortable, undistracted and completely focussed on the task at hand when working with dangerous tools and equipment. Some jobsites, especially in demolition work, are littered with rubble and involve walking on very uneven ground. Boots with good foot and ankle support reduce the risk of injury, which at best would result in time off work but at worst could involve a serious accident if the fall occurs when using a tool.
Still don’t believe that safety boots are necessary? Well Buckler Boots have a story that might change your mind. Geoff Stevens from Hampshire was helping to maneuver precast concrete wall sections, weighing in excess of 1.5 tonnes, when a section slipped and fell and landed on his right foot. Without his Buckler safety boots Geoff would have lost his toes, but the boots protected him despite being 2 years old! Buckler Boots also have a campaign that is worth nothing here: “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 can cause serious injury if you are on a ladder, working at height, or working around dangerous tools! The presence of lace hooks is definitely something to consider when choosing your work boots. Work boots come in many styles – lace up, slip on, hiking boots, Wellington boots, and Buckler even have sneaker-style safety boots! Other important features to consider when choosing boots are water resistance, flexibility, robustness of materials used, and overall comfort. But don’t forget the most important feature: the safety.