Safety footwear is an important part of your employee’s safety gear. Any workers who may encounter falling objects, rolling objects, hot or cold water, chemicals or electrical hazards should be wearing the correct protective gear. In other words, if you are within a block of any pressure washing activity, you will probably have a use for this footwear. A sure-fire way to keep your employees happy is to send them home with all their toes!
Waterproof footwear is a no-brainer when working with pressure washers, and it also goes without saying that all of your safety footwear should have non-slip soles for staying upright on wet surfaces. A pair of rubber boots won’t protect you from super-heated liquids, though. Nor will they protect you from frostbite in subfreezing conditions. Insulated waterproof boots are a much more effective option. The outer surface of the boot should also be able to withstand whatever chemicals you use in the course of a week. Nobody wants that stuff on their socks.
In the shop or in the van, steel toed shoes make a lot of sense, especially if you are moving around heavy equipment or shifting 50-gallon barrels. In situations where there all the gear is either heavy or heavier, you may opt for even more coverage. Toe guards are designed to fit over the outside of shoes, and metatarsal guards protect the instep from gravity-induced damage. Combination foot and shin guards may be a bit extreme for most power washing jobs, but if you are power blasting cement, it suddenly makes sense. The point here is that the type of safety footwear that you and your employees wear ought to be decided by what you are protecting your feet and legs from.
As with all your safety equipment, OSHA has some very detailed opinions about what type of footwear your employees should use, and under what conditions it should be used. Before you buy any protective footwear, you should establish that it is in compliance with ANSI Z41-1991. That literary achievement details the minimum compression and impact performance for safety footwear. Keep in mind that different footwear will protect your feet in different ways, so check the label to make sure you are buying the correct footwear for your jobs.
Another issue common to all safety equipment is the need for upkeep and regular inspections. All of your safety footwear, including leg protection, should be inspected for cracks, holes, separation of materials, broken buckles or busted laces. One little puncture on a waterproof boot can make for an uncomfortable afternoon. The manufacturer usually provides information about the cleaning and maintenance of their protective gear, so save the labels and spread the word.
It’s a lot easier to put your best foot forward when you have both feet to choose from. Ensuring that you and your employees have access to the right protective gear will keep your insurance premiums down, your crew working, and everyone’s toes attached. The right safety footwear can make your life much easier.