• Getting A Grip on Slip Resistant Safety Footwear

    Posted by Glenford Laughton

    Keeping your workers safe on the job is critical. Making sure they wear slip resistant footwear that reduce the risk of their slipping on the job is part of the solution. However, not all slip resistant footwear are the same. So how do you know if what your workers are wearing is slip resistant enough?

    First things first: What does “Slip Resistant” mean?

    It’s defined as the amount of resistance the sole of the shoe exerts while moving over the walking surface. Slip resistance can be measured. And the measurement is called Coefficient of Friction (or COF). COF is the ratio between the maximum frictional force that the sole of the shoe exerts and the force pushing the sole across the surface.

    So really it comes down to the traction and grip of the sole of the shoes and the floor itself -simple enough! Not quite – read on.

    How Is Slip Resistance Measured?

    Slip resistance is measured on a scale. The scale runs from 0.00 up to 1.00.

    0.00 is equivalent to a skating rink, while 1.00 is equivalent to a dry carpet. The higher the number, the greater the slip resistance.

    So rather than ask whether or not a pair of shoes is slip resistant, you could ask:  How slip resistant are a pair of safety shoes.

    Do slip resistance standards exist?

    Unfortunately, there are no national standards for slip resistant footwear in the workplace. Unlike CSA safety standards for toe and plate protection, slip resistance comes in a wide range of performance levels and different brands use different test methods to determine slip resistance. In other words, not all safety footwear provides the SAME level of slip resistance or is measured consistently in the same way.

    The most common testing process is done on a variety of walking surfaces, typically including dry quarry tile, wet quarry tiles and stainless steel. This is done in order to replicate standard work surfaces. And the footwear that is tested will be provided with COF testing results that look something like this.

    Co-Efficient of Friction Flat Heel
    Dry Quarry 0.73 0.54
    Wet Quarry 0.47 0.39
    Wet Stainless Steel 0.55 0.52

    A variety of factors will affect the slip resistant performance of a shoe including tread pattern, contact between outsole surface and flooring, and the materials from which the outsole is made.  When choosing a pair of slip resistant safety shoes or work boots, it’s important for you and your workers to find out how that shoe or boot is going to perform in your specific work environment.

    Without real slip resistant testing standards in Canada, using COF measurements to evaluate footwear can be helpful in decision making but can’t be relied on especially when comparing various brands and styles. Our experts can help you navigate through the options to find safety footwear that provides the best slip resistance for your workers and workplace.

    At Mister Safety Shoes, we are committed to helping workers get the best fitting, most comfortable safety shoes and work boots, so they remain productive and protected. We provide an end-to-end safety footwear management program for all sizes of businesses in Ontario and Alberta. Please contact our business solutions team if you are looking for a safety footwear program for your company.

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  • Under Pressure – how to help reduce strain and injury for workers on their feet

    Posted by Glenford Laughton

    It’s challenging for workers to reduce foot strain when walking and standing all day. A workers’ heel lands on the floor with a force of 1-1/2 to 2 times their body weight. The impact of a full day of standing and walking on the body is equivalent to the weight of a cement mixer truck. The cumulative effect can cause microscopic trauma and joint compression that leads to foot strain and injury.

    If your workers are on their feet for more than 4 hours per day here are a few things you can do to help mitigate their risk of strain and injury:

    • Have workers who are primarily standing, take short breaks and move/walk to increase blood circulation in their legs.
    • Encourage workers to stand with one foot in front of another. This allows them to alternate back and forth with one foot resting and the other foot supporting.
    • Make work surfaces height-adjustable to allow for both standing and sitting and to accommodate people of different heights.
    • Make sure workers wear good fitting safety footwear with good quality midsole cushioning. This helps provide a barrier between the foot and the work surface.
    • Encourage workers to wear insoles, which provide important arch support and additional shock absorption.

    For more information on symptoms and treatments of foot pain and strains check out this information from the Canadian Orthopaedic Assocation.

    At Mister Safety Shoes, we are committed to helping workers get the best fitting, most comfortable safety shoes and work boots, so they remain productive and protected. We provide an end-to-end safety footwear management program for all sizes of businesses in Ontario and Alberta. Please contact our business solutions team if you are looking for a safety footwear program for your company.

     

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  • 3 Tips for Finding the Best Safety Footwear for Standing on Concrete

    Posted by Glenford Laughton

    If you experience sore feet, lower back pain, or leg strain from standing on hard concrete floors at work all day, you are not alone! While walking distributes your weight, standing doesn’t, which can lead to discomfort, knee pain and swelling in the legs and feet. But whether you are standing or walking, hard concrete floors can be punishing on your body when working for extended periods. Over time, workers may suffer from injuries and/or chronic pain. Whether you are working on an assembly line at a factory, in a warehouse or in construction, making an effort to take good care of your feet can go a long way. Wearing proper safety shoes and work boots that support your feet will make a big difference.

    3 Important Features in Safety Footwear

    1. Fit: Finding quality footwear that is the correct size and fit and offers the needed support for your foot is the most crucial step when deciding what type of safety shoes you will purchase no matter what surface you work on.
    2. Shock-absorbing footbeds: Protect the heel and ball of your foot from the day-to-day impact of hard surfaces with safety footwear that features good shock absorption in the footbed. This is the base layer that will protect your feet.
    3. Cushioned midsoles: Midsoles are the area of footwear between the sole of the shoe and the bottom of the footbed. They provide an important barrier between the hard concrete surface and your feet. The amount of cushioning you will need depends on your level of activity. Standing is a bigger strain so more stationary work requires more cushioning; more active workers require lighter cushioning that does not weigh the foot down. The analogy is to walking on sand – although comfortable, it’s a lot more work.

    And for all workers we recommend insoles. Insoles provide arch support that is important in helping reduce strain, pain and potential long-term musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). And, they are also another great shock absorber. Unlike anti-fatigue flooring matting, insoles provide individual foot support and travel with the worker wherever they go.

    We carry a range of great options for working on hard, concrete surfaces, including:

    Reebok Work Fusion Flexweave with a floatride midsole, Terra Spider with supportive sides, low profile and a cushioned midsole, and the CAT Trail with heel shock absorbers for balance, comfort and lightweight performance.

    At Mister Safety Shoes, we are committed to helping workers get the best fitting, most comfortable safety shoes and work boots, so they remain productive and protected. We provide an end-to-end safety footwear management program for all sizes of businesses in Ontario and Alberta. Please contact our business solutions team if you are looking for a safety footwear program for your company.

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  • Best Foot Forward – Tips for Helping Active Workers Stay Active

    Posted by Glenford Laughton

    It is no secret that safety footwear can make or break your comfort level on the job, especially for active workers who push, pull, and lift items every day. Whether you are a construction worker, warehouse picker, loading dock employee, or delivery person, a good pair of supportive work boots or safety shoes are essential. Here are some tips on important features to consider for active workers.

    What to Look for When Choosing a Pair of Safety Shoes for Active Workers:

    • Cushioning in safety footwear provides comfort to active workers who are on their feet all day. It is imperative to find a shoe with just the right amount of cushioning because too much can actually slow you down on the job; think of what it’s like when you’re walking in sand. While shoes with cushioning are soft on your feet, you may find yourself working harder to keep up with the fast pace at your job. Consider the Reebok Work Fusion Flexweave with its floatride foam midsole for the perfect amount of cushioned comfort.
    • Light and breathable footwear are essential for active workers lifting, walking and climbing on the job. Consider the Reebok Work Sublite and the STC Trainer. Both are athletic style shoes that are lightweight and breathable and provide good traction. These safety shoes will keep your feet from sweating and provide all-day comfort.
    • Support in footwear is crucial for active workers. Pivoting can be hard on your ankles – and ankle sprains are the number one cause of workplace foot injury – so turning to a hiker style work boot with ankle support, like the Keen Utility Flint II Mid, Kodiak Crusade work boots and Reebok Work Sublite Hikers might be good options for you! Also important is arch support. Adding insoles, like Form insoles can make a huge difference in reducing foot strain, which in turn can reduce leg and back strain for active workers.
    • Anti-fatigue technology – Developed by several brands, the purpose is to return energy to the foot through advances in shock absorption. Brands like Reebok Work, Timberland and Vismo are using proprietary technology to do this. These are all worth checking out.

    As an active worker, safety shoes that provide support, comfort and protection are essential. Follow our how-to tips to find the right pair of shoes that can keep up with the demands of your fast-paced, active job! Read on to learn more about keeping your feet cool and finding a comfortable fit in your safety footwear!

    At Mister Safety Shoes, we are committed to helping workers get the best fitting, most comfortable safety shoes and work boots, so they remain productive and protected. We provide an end-to-end safety footwear management program for all sizes of businesses in Ontario and Alberta. Please contact our business solutions team if you are looking for a safety footwear program for your company.

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  • Lace-Up and Prevent Workplace Injury

    Posted by Glenford Laughton

    Untied and loose shoelaces may seem harmless and only a “potential” tripping hazard but the reality is they pose a significant threat to workers’ foot health and create a very real possibility of workplace injury.

    Starting with foot health, workers who loosen or untie their laces for comfort are in fact doing the opposite:  creating more stress on their feet by providing them with a lack of support. Fully laced and tied safety footwear keep heels locked into position and provide feet and ankles with important support Sprained ankles are a common workplace injury and if employees are wearing work boots when the sprain occurs, it may well be because they didn’t fully lace up their boots and didn’t have the protection that would help prevent their ankle from turning. The lack of support from loose or untied laces can also lead to foot pain and by association leg and back strain and MSDs (musculoskeletal disorders).

    Then there’s the very real risk of untied or loose laces getting caught in machinery, on equipment, and even snagging on seemingly harmless work surfaces like skids and shelving. These can all lead to very serious workplace injuries.

    This has become such an issue that some countries, like the UK, have even discussed banning shoelaces from industrial workplaces in order to reduce the risk of injury.

    As an employer, monitoring for untied or loose shoelaces can and should be incorporated into health & safety procedures and be part of a safety-first culture.

    And as for lacing itself, the most important approach is to fully lace and tie all safety shoes and work boots. This means lacing all eyelets in the safety footwear starting at the toe and working up the ankle. The most common lacing technique is the criss-cross or over-under technique and tying them with a single or double knot. There is a range of other lacing techniques designed for various foot shapes and potential foot issues as well that our footwear consultants can help with.

    One solution for those workers whose laces frequently come untied is to consider Stay Tied Laces. These are wide, flat waxed laces that help keep safety footwear tied. You’ve likely seen something similar for hockey skates, but these are designed for work boots and safety shoes. All you have to do is tie them up once. Stay Tied Laces even allow you to customize the tightness in certain areas of your safety shoes or work boots to make the fit customized to individual feet. They can be found at a Mister Safety Shoes store or at mistersafetyshoes.com

    At Mister Safety Shoes, we are committed to helping workers get the best fitting, most comfortable safety shoes and work boots so they remain productive and protected. We provide an end-to-end safety footwear management program for all sizes of businesses in Ontario and Alberta. Please contact our business solutions team if you’re looking for a safety footwear program for your company.

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