How To Select the Right Safety Footwear by Clive Astin


A plethora of hazards present themselves to workers feet.  From falling objects, to stepping on spikes, to hot and cold temperatures, chemical hazards, as well as slip risks.  The list certainly goes on!  Whether you’re an employer or an employee, understanding the latest safety footwear standards will ensure that you and your staff are wearing safety footwear that exceeds the minimum legislative and protective requirements, ensuring the safety of the wearer within specified working environments.

All new safety footwear products must be manufactured and certified under EN ISO 20345:2011, and the first part of selecting the correct safety footwear is to pay attention to the Safety Ratings:

Safety Ratings Include: 

SB – Basic requirements: Safety footwear with a toe protector that can bear impact of 200 Joules
S1 – Basic requirements: Closed heel area, energy absorbing seat area, antistatic properties and resistance to fuel oil
S1P – The same as S1 but with P penetration and absorption
S2 – As S1 plus water penetration and absorption
S3 – S2, but with penetration resistance and cleated outsole
S4 – S1 plus entirely moulded polymer/rubber upper, making them waterproof and leak-proof
S5 – S4 plus midsole penetration resistance

So you’ve chosen your Safety Rating.  Now chose your Slip Resistance:

SRA – Tested on ceramic tile, wetted with sodium lauryl sulphate (soap solution)

SRB – Tested on steel with glycerol
SRC – Tested under both SRA ad SRB conditions

Now you’ve identified your protective and slip-resistance ratings, choose from these additional symbols and abbreviations:

A – Antistatic

AN – Ankle Protection

C – Conductive

CR – Cut-Resistant Upper

ESD – Electrostatic Discharge

HRO – Heat-Resistant Outsole

I – Electricity Insulating

M – Metatarsal Protection

P – Penetration Resistance

WR – Water Resistance

WRU – Water Penetration and Water Absorption Upper

So there we have it.

Follow these four simple stages and you’ll be sure to have happy, comfortable and safe feet!

1:  Ensure you see ISO 20345:2011 on the label

2:  Choose your Safety Rating
3:  Select your Slip-Resistance
4:  Select Your Additional Symbols

You can download a simple safety footwear guide here.  Gorilla Safety features an easy ‘selection filter’ on the right-hand-side of their website here, ensuring the four stages can be easily followed.


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