There are many types of footwear available for work situations. Some are designed with a specific craft or industry in mind, such as fire-fighting, logging, electricians, or welders. Others provide a specific type of protection. Many footwear options offer dual protection, such as steel-toed, chemical-resistant boots

General Requirements

Each department is responsible for buying protective footwear for each employee required to wear it. The current state allotment for non-specialty safety shoes can be found at this link.

Foot Hazards

  • Chemical/Biological
  • Compression
  • Impact
  • Electrical shock
  • Explosive
  • Extreme Heat and Cold
  • Cutting tools
  • Static Electricity
  • Slippery Surface
  • Wet Surfaces

General Requirements

Each department is responsible for buying protective footwear for the employee. The current state allotment for non-specialty safety shoes can be found at this link.

  • Protective footwear shall comply with ASTM F-2413-2005, “Standard Specification for Performance Requirements for Protective Footwear,” and ANSI Z41.1 “American National Standard for Personal Protection – Protective Footwear”. All ANSI-approved footwear has a protective toe and offers impact and compression protection but the type and level of protection may vary. Different footwear protects in different ways. Check the product’s labeling or consult the manufacturer to make sure the footwear will protect the user from the hazard.
  • Each affected employee must wear protective footwear when working in areas where there is a hazard to the foot or leg,
  • Each department is responsible for buying protective footwear for the employee.

Types of Foot Protection (env-health-occ-safety@ncsu.edu)

  • Steel/Composite Safety Toe
    •  Provides protection to the toes where personnel are exposed to injury as a result of heavy (greater than 40 pounds) falling or rolling objects on a regular basis, such as tools, equipment, and materials handling.
    • Slip-on toe caps are available when toe protection is needed for a short, temporary use.
  • Metatarsal Guard
    • Provides protection to the top of the foot (metatarsal bones) as well as the toes.
    • Guards are available and built into the boot or as a temporary accessory where protection is only needed for a short period of time.
  •  Static Dissipative – Electrostatic Discharge – ESD – Conductive
    •  Static dissipative shoes minimize the buildup of electrical charge between a person in motion and the surfaces and environment around them, by conducting the charge through the shoes to the ground.
    • Commonly used in manufacturing of electronic components, flammable liquids, explosives, and plastics.
  • Electrical Hazard (EH) – Non-Conductive
    •  EH rated shoes are electrical insulators and prevent or reduce the flow of electrical current from the feet to the ground. EH rated shoes can also prevent electric shock from stepping on a live conductor.
  • Dielectric Electric Overshoes
    • The soles of these shoes provide a barrier to protect personnel from open electrical sources up to 600 volts.  Protection is provided against the touch or stepping on an energized conductor.  These are typically used for working on live power or in the area of live power where the current can jump large distances, especially in wet or damp conditions.  Typically used when performing equipment grounding near power lines.
  • Thermal Insulated Shoes
    • Constructed to resist high heat and cold situations
    • Provides insulation against hot and cold temperatures and are intended for tough outdoor environments.
    • Constructed to resist high heat and cold situations
  •  Waterproof Shoes
    • Constructed to keep the feet dry and comfortable in wet conditions.
  • Chemical-Resistant Shoes
    • Chemical resistant shoes are constructed of various materials to provide protection against chemical and biological hazards
    • Slip-on overshoes or booties can also be used for chemical or biological protection
  • Puncture-Resistant Shoes
    • Designed to protect the midsole of the foot where sharp objects can pierce or penetrate the sole of the shoe.
  • Slip-Resistant Shoes
    • Provides slip-resistant tread for wet, oily, and/or greasy floors.
    • Shoe chains, cleats, or spikes are available to fit over existing boots to prevent falls on ice, snow, or other slick surfaces. Never wear ice or snow cleats when walking on hard surfaces other than snow or ice.

Selection of Foot and Leg Protection (env-health-occ-safety@ncsu.edu)

The following chart provides general guidance for the proper selection of foot protection.

Protection Source(s) Workplace Environments
Steel-toed safety shoes/boots/caps Impact, compression, cuts, abrasions Construction, demolition, renovation, plumbing, building maintenance, trenching, utility work, grass cutting, materials handling
Metatarsal footwear Severe impact or compression to the top of the foot Jack-hammering, pavement breaking, heavy pipes, steel or iron work, skid trucks
Heat-resistant boots and/or leggings/chaps Molten metal, super-heated fluids Foundry work, welding operations
Chemical-resistant footwear/leg wear Splash hazard or direct contact/work with certain chemicals Acid and chemical handling, degreasing, plating, spill response
Static Dissipative Should be used in conjunction with static dissipative flooring. Work on electronics, computer components, solvent-based paints, explosives, and plastics
Conductive footwear Work near or in explosive or hazardous atmospheres. DO NOT use it when exposed to electrical hazards. Explosives manufacturing, grain milling, spray painting, or similar work with highly flammable materials
Electrical footwear Work on or near exposed energized electrical wiring or components. DO NOT use in areas that have potential flammable or explosive atmospheres. Building maintenance, utility work, construction, wiring, work on or near communications, computer or similar equipment, and arc or resistance welding

Storage and Care

  • All safety footwear requires routine inspection for cuts, holes, tears, cracks, worn soles, and other damage that could compromise the protective qualities.
  • Footwear required for certain hazards, such as electrical, hazardous materials, or chemical-resistance should be inspected prior to each use by the user.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions on inspection, care and storage.
  • Damaged or defective footwear must be taken out of service and discarded.

Types of Protective Leg Wear

  • Leg Guards
    • Leg guards are designed to cover the knee, shin, and top of the foot from impact or abrasions.
  • Waders
    • Provide water-proof protection for the feet, legs, and/or lower torso.
  • Chaps
    • Chaps provide protection to upper and lower legs and are usually hazard and/or task specific.
    • Chainsaw chaps are made of multiple layers of cut-resistant fabric, which is designed to jam the chain saw chain and stop the cutting action before it reaches the skin.
    • Welding chaps are typically made of leather and provide heat/burn protection from sparks and slag.

 

Protection Source(s) Workplace Environments
Leg Guards Impact, compression, cuts, abrasions Logging Operations, Tree Work, Chan Saw Work
Waders Wet Environments Wet Environments, lakes, pools, pits, fishing,
Chaps Impact, compression, cuts, abrasions Tree Service, Logging Operations, Chain Saw Work

Storage and Care

  • All safety protective legwear requires routine inspection for cuts, holes, tears, cracks, and other damage that could compromise the protective qualities.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions on inspection and care, storage