Guide To Safety Footwear Protection Levels

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We have a wide range of safety footwear available from leading brands Caterpillar, Dewalt and Scruffs. Each has the expertise and variety of styles and protection levels to ensure that your safety comes first.
Our range of footwear is made from high quality materials to maximise comfort and designed for heavy-duty work. The footwear in our range conforms to the relevant testing requirements of EN ISO 20345.
Choosing the Right Footwear
Safety footwear has different levels of protection. It is important to ensure the correct level of protection is obtained depending on the potential hazards involved to ensure maximum protection.
Injury risks could include:
  • Impact- By heavy objects, which could cause crush injuries
  • Sharp Objects - risk of puncturing the sole
  • Absorption of Elements - such as water or oil
  • Build-up of Static Electricity
  • Extreme Temperatures
  • Slips
When choosing safety footwear the following should be considered:
  • Ensure Footwear Complies to EN ISO 20345 Standards
  • Material - leather or synthetic
  • Indoor or Outdoor Use
  • Temperature - hot or cold environments
  • Climate - sun, snow or rainy conditions
  • Hazards - oil or chemical use
Different Levels of Protection
All safety footwear has to meet certain requirements in line with EN ISO 20345. This is a European safety standard that ensures that the footwear has been tested effectively as stated by the standard and has certain properties that must be adhered to.
'SB' is the code for the basic level of protection and meets the standard overall requirements:
SB - Level
  • Protective toecap made from steel or composite, offering a maximum 200 joules impact protection. Must be tested for compression and have a resistance to 15,000 Newton’s.
  • The upper material should have the required strength to provide abrasion resistance
  • Insoles should be resistant to abrasion.
  • Outsoles should be slip-resistant and resistant to contact heat (HRO), abrasion and oil.
This level is the basic level of safety boots and is suitable for use where additional protection is not required (see S1, S2 and S3). They are not water resistant and therefore should be worn indoors or in dry conditions.
Ideal for warehouse/ factory work, parcel delivery, airline handling or any occupation that involves heavy lifting and runs the risk of impact injury from falling/ rolling goods or crushing. The oil and slip-resistant properties make them suitable for anyone working in the automotive trade.
S1 - All the properties of SB plus anti-static & energy absorbing heel
S1 - Level
This level of protection would be required for anyone working in a high fire risk environment with flammable materials or come into contact with solvents and may be susceptible to electrostatic build up.
Anti-static footwear is designed to reduce the accumulation of static electricity and prevent the risk of spark ignition by dissipating static electricity. They should not be worn where there is a risk of electric shock.
S2 - All the properties of S1 plus water resistant upper
S2 - Level
With the added benefit of being water resistant, these may be worn inside or outside. Suitable for many occupations, especially the jobs where working outside leaves you vulnerable to the elements, such as gardening, recycling operatives, road maintenance workers, building and construction work (provided there is no risk from puncture injuries). These are also ideal for trades such as plumbing, drain clearance, or industrial cleaners.
S3 - All the properties of S2 plus a nail plate providing a puncture resistant sole
S3 - Level
This provides adequate protection against the penetration of sharp objects through the sole of the footwear by incorporating a steel midsole. This level of protection is necessary for most construction/building work where there is a risk from sharp objects such as nails, glass, metal, wire or tacks. This includes all trades that work on construction sites such as builders, carpenters, plumbers, tilers, plasterers, bricklayers and labourers.
Options for specific protection are categorised as:
A - Antistatic: Comes as standard with level S1, S2 & S3
E - Energy absorbing heel: Comes as standard with level S1, S2 & S3
P - Puncture Resistant: Comes as standard with level SB-P,  S1-P & S3
HRO - Heat Resistant Outsole: Comes as standard with level SB, S1, S2 & S3
Check labels on footwear to ensure the correct code for use is applicable. For more detailed information on safety from individual brands always refer to their user information leaflets.
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