ASTM Standards Raise the Bar on Safety Footwear
Imagine, for a moment, an industrial workplace without safety footwear standards in place. The workforce would be entirely unprotected and unequipped to face the many daily hazards that can arise. The company’s risks and liabilities would be out of control.
Thankfully, the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) was formed, now ASTM International, and there are set standards for every aspect of the industrial workplace. At Shoes For Crews®, the focus is safety footwear, specifically slip-resistant shoes for today’s workforce. Last year, the ASTM standard specified that in order to keep up with the new slip-resistance standard, ASTM F3445, a minimum Coefficient of Friction (COF) score of 0.40 on wet and dry surfaces is required.
This is good news for anyone who is investing in their own safety or their company’s safety, as the new standard is a higher standard than before. Historically, Shoes For Crews has outperformed competitors and has always met the minimum standard of 0.40, often surpassing it. Rating higher than the standard and performing extremely rigorous testing is how Shoes For Crews became known as the gold standard in slip-resistance.
What is the ASTM?
Organized in 1898, ASTM International is a highly regarded international standards organization that develops and publishes consensus safety standards for a vast array of manufactured goods, systems and processes, and services.
With more than 30,000 members from 140 countries, almost 90% of the world’s population is represented by the ASTM membership. Industries, institutions and governments worldwide trust and use ASTM standards—and the organization issues up to 12,000 new standards each year. The safety footwear standards are periodically reviewed and updated as needed by a committee of experts in the field.
How does the ASTM standard affect my business?
You always want to protect your team members and your bottom line. The pain and suffering an individual faces after one slip and fall accident could go on for days or even years. For a company, an average slip and fall incident costs $24,000. One accident causes an average loss of 38 days of productivity. Having the ASTM F3445 in place means that slip-resistance is taken more seriously and measured on an even playing field. With the ASTM standard met, you can ensure that your team members will be safe and can get the job done with confident steps.
The standard for safety toe footwear
Safety toe boots and shoes used by workers in the United States—and that includes all steel toe, aluminum toe and composite toe styles—must conform to ASTM International Standard F2413 Standard Specification For Performance Requirements For Protective (Safety) Toe Cap Footwear.
ASTM-certified safety toe footwear must have built-in, non-removable toe caps, with adequate impact protection and resistance to compression. Though there are three levels of protection (30, 50 and 75), Class 75 is the level recommended for most safety footwear needs. ASTM F-2413 standards bearing a Class 75 rating must protect against an impact of up to 75 pounds or a compression load of up to 2,500 pounds. Test results, conducted by an independent third-party laboratory, must meet the following performance criteria to be certified as meeting the F2413 Class 75 standard for that safety element:
Impact: Protection against falling or dropping objects onto the foot
To test the efficacy of safety toe footwear against impact, a weight of 50 pounds is dropped from an approximate height of 18 inches, delivering 75 ft-lbs. of force onto the toe of the shoe. The shoe must pass this test to receive the I/75 certification.
Compression: Protection from rolling objects
Only a shoe that passes a test in which it withstands up to 2,500 pounds of force on the toe receives the C/75 designation. Other safety elements are also under the aegis of ASTM certification, including ratings for EH (capable of withstanding an electrical shock of up to 18,000 volts), ESD (electrostatic dissipative) and Mt (providing metatarsal protection).
The Right Shoes for the Right Jobs
Some industries require slip-resistant shoes, for example restaurant service and healthcare service. Other industries require a safety toe pair of footwear AND slip-resistance, for example industrial jobs and transportation. How do you know whether you need safety footwear? To ascertain which workers require ASTM-certified footwear, a workplace hazard assessment must be conducted, either by staff or a safety consultant.
Avoiding Slips, Falls and Other Hazards
Safety footwear is an essential component of achieving overall safety in the workplace. In fact, OSHA can fine a business when it’s not in compliance with the standards set in place. By putting safety first and investing in safety footwear, you are abiding by the law, keeping your team safe and protecting your bottom line. For more information, industrial safety and risk professionals can access a comprehensive array of resources for training and guidance, and even free consultations for small businesses, at www.osha.gov.