All personal protective clothing and equipment must comply with the safety standards relevant to the specific hazard, the type and class of PPE and PPC and the industry they are used in. Some types of PPE/C are designed for specific industries and may not necessarily be suitable for use across different industries. That being said, some items such as safety footwear are interchangeable between industries. The most important factor is not the industry that the shoe is used in but rather the hazard/s it is used to protect against.

Over and above the specific performance standards for protective footwear, there is also a general safety footwear standard, EN ISO 20345, which sets out several general criteria to which any type of safety footwear must adhere in order to be certified.

Understanding Safety Footwear

CHARNAUD® manufactures and supplies a range of safety footwear for several industries including the molten metal, electrical and firefighting, all of which comply with international safety standards.

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Understanding EN ISO 20345

EN ISO 20345:2011 Personal Protective Equipment – Safety Footwear is a European safety standard to which all types of safety footwear are tested. Globally, industries are becoming more proactive about the safety of their employees, and with that, PPE safety standards are becoming more prescriptive in their requirements. The current version of the standard includes additional requirements such as:

  • All safety footwear must include toe protection incorporated into the footwear,
  • Toe protection must have an impact resistance threshold of 200-joules, or be able to withstand a 20-kilogram weight dropped onto the toe protection from a height of 1020 millimetres, and
  • Toe protection must have undergone a 15KN compression test, or be able to withstand the compression of 1.5 tonnes resting on the toe of the shoe.

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How Is Certified Protective Footwear Rated?

After the footwear has been tested, it will bear the marking ‘CE’ followed by other letters, numbers, codes and/or pictograms and/or symbols to indicate ratings. These symbols / ratings give the wearer important information about the safety features of their safety footwear. Important ratings include:

  • A – Anti-static
  • AN – Ankle protection
  • C- Conductive
  • CI – Insulation against cold
  • CR – Cut resistant upper
  • E – Energy absorbing seat region
  • HI – Insulation against heat
  • HRO – Heat resistant outsole
  • I – Insulation against electricity
  • M – Metatarsal protection
  • WR – Water resistant
  • WRU – Water resistant upper

Important Features in Protective Footwear

Different industries have different requirements when it comes to hazard protection, however there are a number of standard safety features that all protective footwear should have.

Features like anti-static protection (rating: A, S1, S1P, S2, S3) help to dissipate the build-up of static electricity and potentially mitigate the chance of static shock. Energy absorption (E, S1, S1P, S2, S3) qualities are also important, as is heat resistance. Heat resistance (HRO) stipulates that the shoe’s outer sole must be able to resist exposure to a temperature of 300° C for 60 seconds. Insulation properties are also important, not just from a comfort perspective, but because exposure to excessive heat and extreme cold can cause lasting physical damage. It is therefore important that protective footwear be insulated against heat and cold (HI, CI). For heat resistance, protective footwear must be exposed to a temperature of 150°C for 30 minutes, and for resistance against cold, must be exposed to temperatures between 1 -20°C for 30 minutes. Midsole penetration protection (SBP, S1P, S3, S5) helps to guard against injury from sharp objects penetrating the shoe midsole. The midsole should be able to withstand a penetration force measuring 1100N (Newtons). Safety footwear should also be water resistant (WR, WRU, S2, S3), or have a water resistant upper only, denoted by the abbreviation ‘WRU’. Falls from slippage are a major cause of occupational injury, so one should seek out safety footwear with a slip resistance rating (SRA, SRB, SRC).

Get in Touch with the CHARNAUD® Team Today

The safety footwear minimum requirements as set out in EN ISO 20345 exist to protect the wearer. Occupational hazards are not always avoidable, but with the correct PPE occupational injury can be. It is worth investing in top quality, internationally certified PPE and PPC from a reputable manufacturer like CHARNAUD®. Get in touch with CHARNAUD® to learn more about their ranges of fully certified personal protective clothing and equipment.

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