Unlike me, who sits behind a desk all day writing articles and doing research, any person who works outside in construction or any of the other trades, must wear a pair of comfortable boots, but, safety features have to be looked at as well. I am going to outline what the features, functions and benefits are of the different boots available fort our blue collared workers. The boots available are designed to be industry specific.
If you work in commercial construction, one must wear boots that can resist having something heavy fall on your feet and causing severe injury. The term steel toe boot sometimes is a misnomer because there are lighter materials available like aluminum and thermoplastic polyurethane. One of the chief hazards in this area of work is water and electric shock. It is absolutely vital that the employee look at the rating on the boot as to how much and how much of an electric shock these boots are designed to withstand. If one works in the area of semiconductors, the products being produced cannot withstand much of a shock and if the boots are not graded to dissipate static charges, this can damage the products. There are both international and national standards that grade these boots. Because these employees work in areas that have sharp objects like nails, bolts and other items that can injure the feet, puncture resistance is another consideration.
If you work in the outdoors where saws and other blades are in operation, the grade of boot is absolutely critical. Because chainsaws quite often are left running and sometimes people become deaf to the noise, boots have to be doubly reinforced to resist punctures and possibly someone losing a limb. Even if one is using a band saw or a wet saw for concrete the type of boot can make the difference between a bad injury, losing a limb or even death.
If you look at utility workers on electrical poles, their foot wear must absolutely be safety graded to protect from electric shock and grounding. You can tell if work boots are graded for this by looking the Ω symbol on the boot itself. Even with the power running and as long as the boots and rest of safety gear meet these standards, electrical workers can continue to work.
For workers who work with hot tar, concrete and other hot materials, the boots must be graded as well for stones and other items that can get between the tongue, laces and your feet. Some are graded for eight hours and up to two hundred twelve degrees Fahrenheit.
There is a high degree of danger when working in any of the trades I have covered. The Occupational and Safety Administration has very clear guidelines as to what is acceptable foot wear and it is prescribed on their website. One of the most significant dangers is falling and rolling. Virtually all of the trades I have covered have these inherent risks. Falls from heights can be very dangerous and one of the common injuries is injuries to the ankles. A spiral fracture can not only be very painful but can lead to permanent deformity and since the ankle is connected to the tibia and fibula, the damage from this injury can be permanent. The work boot must have sufficient support around the ankle so the injury sustained may be just a bad sprain and not a spiral fracture.
The other common injury is from crush and rolling injuries. Some of the designs of the boots are also critical in making an informed buying decision. Does the boot go only ankle high or up to the middle of the calf? If the boot only goes up ankle high and you are working on hot asphalt, I would not recommend this boot as a good choice. What is to stop hot stones and tar from leaking into the boot via the tongue or eyelets? I would select a boot that goes half way up the calf.
Before selecting any boot, I would recommend getting on OSHA’s website and find out what the various types, ratings and grading of different boots that are appropriate for the work you are about to undertake. I have seen prices as low as $100 dollars and as much as $250.00. The decision must be based on work type, budget and comfort.
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