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Safety shoes suitable for different jobs and work environments

Your health in the workplace depends on your feet. Taking care of them is a high priority for every worker. This means that choosing work footwear that fits the nature of the person`s job is inevitable. While a standard pair of safety goggles or earmuffs may cover a wide range of occupations and potential hazards, choosing the right safety footwear may require extra care to ensure that the shoes you choose meet all your needs. Accidents that occur in the workplace come in many forms for the feet. The best way to protect employees in high-risk work environments is to control and prevent accidents using engineering, training, HSE regulations, and management controls. If these controls are not possible in the workplace personal protective equipment and especially appropriate safety shoes should be used.

 

How to choose your safety shoes?

Shoes should be chosen based on the hazards in your work environment. For example, if you work in an area where you may be at risk of falling objects, choosing an ankle-protection boot does not eliminate the risk. Shoes with a steel toe cap are suitable for many hazards in different work environments, but are they the right choice for you? Taking the time to make sure what kind of shoes you choose exactly for your work environment can create a world of difference.
ASTM F2413 contains the required performance specifications for safety and foot protection shoes. This standard covers the minimum requirements for the design, performance, testing, and classification of safety footwear. ASTM F2413 valid shoes must first meet the requirements for impact and pressure resistance. Additional requirements such as foot protection, electrical conduction protection, static drop protection, and object penetration protection can then be considered.
Here are some of the most common hazards in the workplace that require foot protection. You can use this article to identify and choose shoes based on your workplace needs.

Electrical hazards

For workers who have any contact with electricity in the workplace, electrical insulating shoes are an essential part of personal protective equipment. A simple electrician or person working with high voltage circuits and machines need protection against electrical hazards. Electrically insulated shoes are produced with non-conductive and impact-resistant soles and heels. Ark offers Rima safety shoes and Pro boots with electrical insulation. Rino high voltage shoes are the type of shoes that are suitable for high voltage electricity up to 20 kV. These types of shoes prevent electrical connections and ultimately reduce the risk of electric shock.

Explosive Materials

If you work around explosives or other highly reactive or flammable materials, you will likely need electrical insulating shoes (namely ESD feature). Electrically conductive work shoes help prevent static electricity. Without this precaution, static electricity on your body can easily ignite and cause a fire or explosion. Silk, wool, and nylon socks should not be worn in this type of work environment or with this type of shoes, as these materials also generate static electricity.

Falling objects

If you are at risk of falling objects, you will need safety boots with a toe cap. These safety shoes have a toe protector, which is usually made of steel. For example, Ark Luna safety shoes with steel toe cap and Ark Nova safety shoes with a composite toe cap are among the safety shoes that can withstand an impact of 200 joules.
Sharp and cutting objects
Sharp objects on the floor of the workplace pose a serious risk to employees. Sharp objects such as nails or screws can pierce the soles of ordinary shoes and damage your foot. Object-resistant safety shoes (so-called with anti-nail soles) include a steel plate that sits in the middle of the sole and protects against the dangers of stepping on sharp objects. All Ark safety shoes can be customized with an anti-nail plate.
 

Heavy Machinery

Some work shoes have more protection along the metatarsus (the upper part of your foot). If you have ever dropped anything on top of your foot, you know how dangerous it can be to your foot. Any work involving heavy machinery, heavy loads, or hazardous conditions may require the use of metatarsal boots.
 

Cold

Working in cold conditions means dressing to keep warm, and your shoes are no exception. Thermal insulation boots are essential if you work outdoors or are exposed to extreme cold. Feet that are not properly insulated from the cold are exposed to frostbite and other cold-related hazards. Ark Rima boot with grain leather upper can protect your feet from the cold to a great extent.

Humidity

Waterproof leather boots are a popular choice when working in wet conditions. Working in a humid environment puts you at risk of getting wet. So keeping your feet dry also helps to protect them from the cold. Shoes with waterproof leather also protect against rot and fungal growth. For this problem, Ark Safety Industry also intends to produce some models, such as Openka with microfiber waterproof leather.
 

Slippery surfaces

Slip-resistant shoes are required for many types of industries. Health workers, food industry workers, metal and automotive industry workers, factory workers, etc. This list is almost endless. Slip-resistant shoes come with a sole that reduces smoothness and increases friction and prevents accidents. Ark Pro safety boots with PU-TPU outsole are a good choice for working on slippery surfaces.

Flame and molten metals

Working with molten metals carries great risks. Casting, welding, or excavation shoes are made specifically for this type of job. These shoes are designed to insulate against extreme heat or other environmental conditions. They prevent hot metals from entering the shoe seams. For this purpose, it is recommended to use safety boots with plastic soles.

Ark experts` advice on work shoes

In choosing the right shoes, several factors must be considered. You need to make sure that you feel safe and comfortable in the ankle area and that you can move well. For this reason, each model of Ark safety shoes is produced in 2 types of short legs or long legs. You also need to make sure that the feet fit snugly into the safety shoes. A suitable but loose or oversized shoe can be a danger in the workplace. Paying attention to the work environment and identifying possible dangers, as well as examining environmental conditions such as humidity, heat, the presence of coils and electrical wires, etc., is the most important principle before buying and choosing safety shoes. Always make sure that the shoes you choose are according to the instructions set by your company and for the type of work you do.
 

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Types of shoe soles and their characteristics

No shoe is complete without a sole. The sole of the shoe is the base and the main pillar of the shoe. There are different types of soles, the most common outsole in Iran is PU shoe sole, which stands for polyurethane. These materials are in the form of liquid and two components called polyol and isocyanate, which react with each other when combined and produce PU outsole.
 
Specifications of PU outsole: It has a low density that makes the shoe light. It has moderate abrasion and will not break at all if the polyol and isocyanate materials are combined properly. It has low friction strength and can be both soft and hard. PU can have two colors in different densities and is mostly used in men`s shoes.
 
Specifications of TPU: TPU is an elastomeric thermoplastic based on polyurethane, TPU is completely transparent and one of the important properties of TPU is its excellent elasticity. It has very little wear. It does not break at all and has high friction strength. Due to its weight, the lower part of the outsole is usually made of TPU and the upper part is made of PU so that it is both soft and has high friction properties and is light at the same time. Usually used in specialized safety shoes.
 
Rubber outsole specifications: Shoes with rubber outsoles are usually heavy but of good quality. These outsoles are usually used in military and mountaineering shoes. These outsoles are also used in safety shoes. It has high frictional strength and the abrasion resistance is high.
 
Specifications of PVC outsole: It is the cheapest and lightest sole of PVC shoes and is made in the form of granules. It has low friction and is produced in different grades of soft and hard. It is brittle in low temperatures and winter conditions. It is light, usually used in making slippers, cheap sandals, and shoes.
 
EVA outsole specifications: These outsoles are very light. They are in the form of granules and used more in casual shoes. Because they deform at different temperatures, they are usually combined with rubber and TPU to prevent deformation. They slip in aqueous mediums, which is why the bottom of the outsole is combined with rubber and the top with EVA. It stands for Ethylene Vinyl Acetate, which is an elastic material.
 
Leather soles: The oldest and most original shoe soles are leather soles, which are now part of the handicrafts. These outsoles are very high quality and hard because they are completely natural and handmade. These soles are usually used in handmade shoes. This cumin is very strong in absorbing foot sweat and keeps the foot cool in summer. But in winter, this shoe can not be used, because it absorbs all the water from the surface.
 
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Guide to Safety Shoes Toe Cap Selection

One of the first decisions you make when choosing work shoes or safety boots is whether the shoes have a steel, composite, or alloy toe cap. The toe cap in safety shoes is a cap on the front of the shoe that protects the toes from objects falling on the foot and prevents them from being crushed. The toe cap is paired with the anti-nail plate that is placed under the safety shoes and the shoe is resistant to the penetration of sharp objects.
While any type of toe cap provides protection and safety, the use of any material in the toe cap has its pros and cons. Here are some basic differences between different types of toe caps for different industries.
 
Composite Toe Caps
Over the past decade, composite safety shoes have become increasingly popular among workers who spend long periods in the workplace due to their lightweight and comfortable design. In the safety shoe industry, composite toe caps are often made of a combination of non-metallic materials such as carbon fiber, plastic, kevlar, or fiberglass. According to the CSA standard, composite toe caps meet the same safety requirements as steel ones. Currently, in the group of composite toe caps, plastic and fiberglass are receiving more attention due to their low price and availability.
Safety boots with a composite toe cap is ideal for workers who constantly have to go through metal detectors and security gates (such as airport workers or security personnel).
Pros:
• Less weight, which makes work shoes easier to use for a long time.
• Free of metal
• Prevents spark
• Electric and thermal insulation
Cons:
• Bulkier than other toe caps 
 
Steel Toe Caps
With a history of more than 80 years, steel toe safety shoes have been the standard of safety for workers in construction, manufacturing, and material transportation for decades. This is the best-priced and most popular option to protect your feet from accidents.
However, steel toe caps can be heavy and make workers tired during the day. It is also problematic for personnel working with high voltages because they can conduct electricity.
Pros:
• The strongest toe protector
• The toe cap is smaller than the composite ones and makes the shoe volume smaller
• Cheaper than other options
Cons:
• Heavier than alloy and composite toe caps
• Can decay or dent
• In cold weather, conveys the feeling of cold to the feet
• Conducts electricity
• Can’t be used in environments with metal detectors
 
Alloy Toe Caps
Alloy toe caps are made of lightweight materials such as titanium or aluminum or a combination of other lightweight materials. Recently, due to its lightness and comfortable design, alloy toe caps have become more popular.
Pros:
• Slimmer than steel toe caps
• 30 to 50 percent lighter than steel toe caps
• More space for the toes
Cons:
• More expensive than steel toe caps
• Not as strong as a steel ones
• Conducts electricity 
• Can’t be used in environments with metal detectors
 
Recommendation of Ark Safety Industry experts about toe caps selection
The final decision depends on your budget, job, and working conditions. Most non-metallic toe caps are used for environments where there is a possibility of electric shock. Although some users of safety shoe products want to use plastic toe caps for the lightness and comfort of their shoes, it is recommended to share issues related to your work environment with Ark Safety Industry experts when purchasing safety footwear. We will recommend the best and most suitable safety shoes in accordance with the required standards. Types of safety shoes used in the Ark Safety Industry are steel and composite caps (plastic) that comply with the standards defined by the Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran. Choosing and buying safety shoes suitable for the environment and working conditions is one of the most important principles of safety and health, which is forgotten sometimes.



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How to Clean Work Boots and Safety Shoes Based on Their Material

Work boots or safety shoes are an essential part of personal protective equipment used in the workplace to reduce physical hazards. Safety shoes are used to protect our feet while maintaining and cleaning them is essential for keeping feet healthy and safe. Cleaning and monitoring of safety shoes to avoid reducing their effectiveness in protecting the feet are very important. Here are the best ways to clean shoes based on the type of material used. 

Leather

Leather is one of the most popular materials used in the exterior of safety shoes. The reasons for using leather in safety shoes are its high resistance to wear and tear, as well as the flexibility of movement that it shows during heavy work. Natural leather also absorbs moisture to keep the feet dry and comfortable during the day.
The first step in taking care of your leather shoes is to make sure your shoes are completely dry. Then it is necessary to use a shoe brush to remove dust, salt, and other sticky materials on its surface. The next step is to apply the appropriate wax or leather material and rub it on the shoe using a soft cloth. Keep doing this until the wax reaches the entire surface of the shoe and the stains disappear from the surface of the leather shoe. After that expose the shoe to the open air to dry. To keep the leather shiny, you can use waxes based on palmitoleic acid (like mink oil), which has similar properties to Vaseline. Finally, the use of the waterproof spray is recommended to protect safety shoes against snow and rain stains and help it withstand water penetration.
To remove grease stains and protein stains (such as blood or urea), use a cloth soaked in a solution of water, mild soap, and a very small amount of vinegar and smoothly wipe the area. It should be noted that in this case, to dry leather shoes, they should not be exposed to direct sunlight and heat.

Synthetic

Synthetic materials are also used in the production of safety footwear, and are composed of materials that have been manmade, rather than are natural. Synthetic materials can be treated to prevent staining, wrinkling, improve water-resistance and so forth, but how should you clean it?
We recommend removing stains and contaminants on the surface of the synthetic leather with a soft brush or cloth. Then use a mild soap solution and cold water to wash the safety shoes with synthetic leather. After cleaning, to make synthetic shoes dry, expose the safety shoes to the air, and the heat will have a positive effect on the synthetic leather construction. 

Suede

Suede is a type of leather that has a non-glossy top layer with a special finish. Suede leather is usually softer than regular leather and has less strength and durability. Due to the lower resistance of suede maintenance of it is more sensitive.
To start cleaning and maintaining the suede, use a suede shoe brush to remove any dirt and salt. Then apply a dilute solution of sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda, to the remaining stains and the entire surface of the suede and allow it to absorb the sunscreen over a day. Then clean the safety shoe with a cloth and remove the baking soda from the surface of the shoe. Finally, use a special waterproof spray to make your suede safety shoes more resistant to the water and weather. Glossy sprays and oils such as paraffin cannot be used to maintain the beauty and appearance of suede.

Rubber

Rubber is another material commonly used in the manufacture of safety shoes. Rubber is an excellent insulator that makes the shoe electrically resistant and has shock-absorbing properties. Although the rubber has high durability, it is not breathable and it can restrict the movement of the shoe and cause discomfort. However, the rubber is water-resistant and allows people to work in humid environments to keep their feet dry during the day. It is relatively easy to clean safety shoes with a rubber material.
Use high pressure water to clean your rubber shoes and use baking soda solution to remove dirt. The pressure of the water cleans the mud and other materials, and baking soda removes the remaining stains on safety shoes made of rubber. Care should be taken to ensure that no water enters the shoe. Water penetration into the shoe can damage the inside of the shoe. After removing dust and stains on the plastic, use a stiff brush to separate any pebbles and sand from the sole of the shoe. Scratches on plastic shoes can be removed with olive oil. Finally, expose the shoes to the air to dry.

Final advice of Ark Safety Industry experts

Before buying any type of safety shoes, it is better to check the conditions of the work environment and the place of use. It is recommended not to use suede or nubuck leather for oily, wet, and muddy environments. In addition, because leather is a natural material with a protein base, the use of leather safety shoes in environments prone to the growth of enzymes and bacteria, which may damage the structure of the leather, should be considered deeply.
Given that most Ark safety shoes are made of leather if you want to clean your work shoes or safety shoes with water, be sure to consider the amount of water you use for cleaning. Repeated soaking of leather with water causes the leather shoes to dry and crack. If you have to expose your shoes or safety shoes to too much water, remove the insoles and fill them with the newspaper. During the hours when you are not using safety shoes, placing a newspaper inside the shoe will absorb the water and moisture faster. Of course, the use of leather shoes in wet environments and high humidity reduces the life of leather shoes.

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