How many of us have used a variation of the phrase: ‘Do not judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes’? With a few tweaks we can mould this to the construction industry: ‘You can partly judge a person’s level of safety by the boots or shoes they wear.’
The Australian Standard AS 2210.3:2019 specifically covers safety footwear. It provides manufacturers, employers, and employees with requirements for footwear used in the workplace. It is a far-reaching Standard because when we look at the construction industry alone, work may involve alterations, renovations, fitting out, maintenance, refurbishment, demolition, dismantling, and site preparation. This means all PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), including footwear, must be versatile enough to provide workers with a high level of protection across a diverse range of jobs, conditions, and sites.
“Workplace environments and risk factors vary enormously, and work health and safety risk assessments should be consulted before choosing footwear protection,”
Across Australian workplaces, some of the most common causes of serious injury are slips, trips, and falls, caused by inadequate grip or traction between the sole of the footwear and the ground. Injuries from these accidents include sprains and bruising, breaks and dislocations, and spinal issues and often involve long term rehabilitation or permanent disabilities. These injuries can also be a considerable drain on costs and productivity in Australian workplaces. According to Safe Work Australia, work-related injuries cost the Australian economy around $60 billion every year, representing almost 5 per cent of the nation’s GDP.
It is imperative that the correct fit-for purpose footwear be worn to suit the work environment and tasks being performed.
It is essential that hazard assessments in the workplace be conducted by the employer before work commences. In relation to footwear, the employer needs to consider how and when workers may be exposed to injury hazards, and how protection can be provided.
The inconsistent nature of ground surfaces encountered on construction sites such as variations in slope, loose gravel, muddy surfaces, ladders and scaffolding, means the potential risk of injury is substantial.“Workplace environments and risk factors vary enormously, and work health and safety risk assessments should be consulted before choosing footwear protection,” says Adam Blake, Joint Chief Executive Officer, Blundstone Australia. The correct choice in safety footwear will assist in reducing this risk.
Blundstone is one of the leaders in the provision of safety footwear. Its most popular range, the XFoot Rubber Series, is compliant with AS 2210.3:2019, and the products are so versatile that they are used widely across many industries, including heavy construction. This year two new products have been added to the range.
Supported by thorough research, development and innovation Blundstone is always looking at ways to best provide and improve its footwear, ensuring workers are comfortable and safe.
“Throughout Blundstone’s history, we have prided ourselves on adapting to meet our customer’s needs. In the 1950s we produced boots for Tasmanian Zinc refinery, EZ, with wooden soles to protect against hydrochloric acid and now, in 2021 we’ve taken that same spirit of innovation to produce two new XFoot Rubber styles, that meet the needs of those who need ultimate protection,” says Adrian Blandford Global Work and Safety Range Manager, 984 Blundstone Australia.
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