Safety Boots Standards Explained
Safety boots are essential gear for construction and electrical work. They’re also great for casual or personal use: working in the yard, around the house, or helping a friend with job. But how can you choose the safety boot that both fits your needs and is appropriate for the job at hand? After all, no one wants to spend all that money on a boot, only to end up with a nail through the sole and a sore foot! Fortunately, safety boots come labeled with the standards they meet, making it easy to choose the pair that’s best for you.
Boots labeled with a GREEN TRIANGLE indicate that this is a class 1 toe-capped boot with a puncture-resistant sole (no nails biting through to your feet!). The green triangle indicates that the boots would be appropriate for construction or other heavy industries.
A YELLOW TRIANGLE, on the other hand, means that the shoe is a class 2 toe-capped boot. This means that the shoe is better for lighter jobs, in which you would encounter fewer hazards, while still boasting puncture-resistant soles. They are a little weaker than boots with the green circle.
For situations in which you don’t need to worry about puncture resistance, look for boots bearing a GREY SQUARE with an R encased by a circle (grade 2 protection with no sole puncture protection) or a BLUE SQUARE (grade 1 toe protection, no sole puncture resistance) to suit your needs.
If you’re an electrician, you’ll want to avoid boots with the RED SQUARE with the black “C” on it. This indicates a boot that may not protect you in environments in which you may encounter electrical charges. Instead, if you are working on a job where you are at risk of encountering live electrical conductivity, you will want to purchased boots denoted with a WHITE SQUARE bearing an orange Omega. These will protect you in “live wire” situations.
On the other hand, if you are not working around electricity per se, but rather in environments with a risk of static discharge, boots marked by a YELLOW SQUARE and “SD” will offer you the controlled electrostatic discharge you need in a boot. These boots have been tested and approved for anti-static protection.
Finally, if you’re working a job that requires the use of chainsaws, look for boots that have a green tree on a white background. This indicates that the boots are approved for protection against chainsaws – perfect if you work in the forestry industry or are a logger!
In addition to these markings, you can find a series of codes inside the tongue of your safety work boots. These codes will advise if the boots are for men (M) or women (F); if they offer impact resistance (I); compression resistance ©; metatarsal resistance (mt); conductive properties, which measure the shoe’s ability to drive static electricity away from the body (CD); electrical hazard protection (EH); static dissipative properties (SD); puncture resistance (PR); chainsaw resistance (CR); or dielectric insulation, which gives extra protection from accidental contact with electricity (DI).
All of these markings can be found on the sole or the tongue of the boots. Check out this infograph on the safety boots standards so that you can choose the best boots according to your need. The next time you’re shopping for your next pair of boots for work or an at-home project, be sure to examine them carefully in order to best protect yourself in any situation.