If you are starting your first job in the manufacturing industry, then realize that it is important to choose the right pair of work boots to ensure your feet are protected all day long at work.
According to the BLS, or Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 60,000 serious foot injuries occur on the job each year that result in workers having to miss at least one full day of work. However, the right work boots or shoes can protect your feet and keep you from becoming a workplace injury statistic.
Read on to learn how to choose the right work boot toe box and outsole, two very important components of a safety boot.
1. Choose the Right Toe Box
If your employer has instructed you to wear shoes or boots with hard toes, then it is important to know that you have several toe box material options. These options include: steel toes, aluminum or titanium alloy toes, and composite toes. All have their unique benefits.
In general, steel toes offer you the most protection against heavy falling objects, yet they can feel a bit heavy in your boots.
Alloy toes are more lightweight, often 30 to 50 percent lighter than steel toes, and often thinner than steel toe boxes, which can help prevent foot fatigue when spending long hours on your feet. However, steel toe boxes typically offer more protection and have higher ANSI ratings than work boots with alloy toes.
Another toe box option you will encounter is a composite toe. These toe boxes are often made of carbon fiber, fiberglass, and other super-strong materials. Just like alloy toe boxes, they are more lightweight than steel toe boxes.
Composite toe boxes do not conduct electricity, which makes them a good option when working in a facility where electrical hazards are plentiful. They also do not conduct heat very well, so they can keep your feet cooler while you are working in a hot manufacturing facility.
No matter which type of toe you choose, check the rating of the shoe or boot designated by the American National Standards Institute. This rating designates how well the toe box will protect your toes from injury if heavy objects were to fall on them or if your toes were to get trapped in heavy machinery. The higher the ratings, the more protection the toe box will provide you.
If you work in a facility with electrical hazards, also check the boots' electrical hazard rating.
2. Opt for the Right Slip-Resistant Outsole
Slip and fall accidents are the second most common cause of workplace injuries, and slips and falls are common in manufacturing plants. This makes it very important to choose a work boot with a slip-resistant sole, especially if you work in a manufacturing facility where there is oil present that may spill onto floors. However, it is important to know that not all slip-resistant soles are made alike.
According to Occupational Health and Safety Magazine, the work boot tread design that offers the most slip resistance is a circle-grip outsole with incisions that divide the tread into several parts. This design will deflect liquids away from the outsole, limiting the chances of you slipping on them. Also look for deep tread, ideally at least three millimeters in depth.
However, work boot outsoles are often tested by independent laboratories for their slip-resistance in different work environments, so go with an outsole rated for your work environment when in doubt.
Then, monitor your boots' tread and replace your work boots as soon as you notice signs of tread wear. Even the most well-designed tread cannot protect you from slips and falls when it is too worn.
If you have any more questions about choosing the right work boots for your new manufacturing job, then reach out to us at the Workshoe Outlet; we will be happy to answer any questions you have and point you to a pair of safety boots that are perfect for you.