Preventing foot injuries – taking steps to ensure maximum safety

Safety footwear is a simple and effective way to lower risks. Find out the best way to introduce the right footwear for your workers.

Safety footwear is the single most common item of personal protective equipment worn by workers to protect them from hazards in the workplace. Correct selection and usage will ensure that when safety footwear is needed it will protect workers’ feet and legs effectively. It will also have a positive effect on lowering the frequency of workplace accidents.

Certain workplace hazards and environments require that safety footwear be worn, and employers should consider making the wearing of safety footwear mandatory if the following hazards are present:

  • Objects falling onto toes, feet or legs

– wear steel-capped boots or shoes

  • Sharp nails or metal work on the floor which could be stepped on

– wear footwear with reinforced soles

  • Working in extreme temperatures or with molten metals

– wear thermal insulation footwear for extreme temperatures and quick-release footwear with gaiters to reduce risks from molten metals

  • Electrical hazards

– electrically insulating boots or shoes to be worn

  • Explosive atmospheres or working with explosives

– wear antistatic footwear

  • Handling hazardous chemicals

– select footwear resistant to the materials involved

  • Wet floor surfaces

– waterproof footwear or wellington boots are to be worn

Establishing a protective footwear regime is best done with input from employees to gain maximum willingness for compliance with the new safety footwear rules. Leave the final choice of style to the workforce by trying out different styles and suppliers to ensure that they are comfortable with the style of their new safety boots or shoes, this ensures they will be worn correctly. When making the final selections ensure all footwear:

  1. Protects against the identified hazards
  2. Is comfortable to wear for long periods
  3. Is CE-marked and made to a recognized standard such as EN ISO 20345:2011
  4. Is GRIP rated for slip resistance

The decision to issue safety footwear to employees should be underpinned by a risk assessment process that should be recorded. The footwear should also be issued to employees on a signed receipt basis along with instructions on what areas of the workplace have a requirement for safety footwear to be worn. Supervisors should then be able to monitor their team members to ensue that the correct type of footwear is being worn.

For clients that have yet to experience our Slips Trips & Falls Toolkit, which contains further guidance on footwear, the toolkit provides:

  1. An interactive data capture tool to identify key trends from slips, trips and falls incidents detailed Annual Management Review interactive pdf which assists clients with the identification of gaps in their management system.
  2. A total of 16 guides providing best practice information to manage all aspects of risk and causation relating to slips, trips and falls


If you require log in details to access businessRisc©, our technical guidance library and the Slip, Trip & Falls Toolkit, please contact Nicola Vogel at

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