The choice of safety shoes will depend on your work environment. Different safety shoes will protect from puncture, impact and compression. The shoes are not always hardy as different manufacturers have introduced professional safety footwear.
A brief history of safety shoes
In the early 17th century, European factory workers curved shoes out of wood known as “sabots”. They were to protect their feet from punctures from sharp objects on the ground and falling objects.
At the height of the industrial revolution, French factory workers would throw their “sabots” into the machinery to sabotage operations.
In the 17th century, it was cheaper to replace workers than providing them with safety gear. In the early 20th century, companies saw it as cheaper to provide the workers with safety attire other than replacing machines damaged by the employees. Liability costs had risen and become expensive for companies to operate in those environments.
The first mass production of safety shoes
Safety boots were first mass-produced in the United States in 1930 by the Red Wings Shoes Company. They made the shoes to protect the workers’ toes where most injuries to the feet occur. They fit the shoes with steel toe caps that would protect the toes from the impact of falling objects.
A year before that, Marschtiefels, a German shoe company, had produced a shoe with a steel toe cap for members of the German army. The shoes were worn by Hitler and his troops during the first world war and were popularly known as the Hitler shoes.
The standardization of safety shoe manufacturing
In 1970 the market players adopted the safety shoe standards. This standard ensures that they make all safety shoes to protect the workers’ feet from injury. These standards became a requirement for any manufacturer who intended to manufacture safety equipment to comply.
The United States Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) that required employers to ensure their employees were protected. This provision dictated the safety standards that were to be applied when manufacturing safety shoes.
The safety standard applied for manufacturing safety shoes is EN ISO 20345:2011, EN ISO 20346:2011, and EN ISO 20347:2004.
EN ISO 20345:2011 advises that manufacturers should ensure that safety boots ISO certified 20345:2011 could handle up to 200 joules of impact.
EN ISO 20346:2011 advises that manufacturers ensure safety shoes can handle up to 100 joules of impact.
EN ISO 20347:2004 gives general advice on safety footwear and is not made with the steel or composite toe cap.
The toe cap-the most important part of the safety shoe
At the beginning of the production of safety shoes, iron-steel toe caps were used in all the safety shoes. Steel toe caps are used because of the tensile strength of the material. Toe caps have developed to composite materials that are made to the same strength as steel toe caps. Those steel toe caps are heavier drives the shift to the composite material.
Safety was also a concern, especially when working with electricity. Mild steel, aluminium, zinc, and titanium are also used to make the toe caps.
The evolution of safety shoes
They made safety shoes high-cut, but they developed mid-cut and low-cut shoes for comfort as time went on. Because of fashion trends, one can wear safety shoes during a work-out or to an office.
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