Standards and Directives

Of course, our products meet all the necessary standards, and not just that – we always require that little bit more from our products. This ensures the extra safety that our customers – rightly – expect from us.

Safety footwear standards: The safety performance requirements of work boots

Safety footwear is the technical category name for ‘work boots’ or ‘steel caps’ as they are often referred to in Australia and New Zealand. In the Australian and European standards (EN ISO 20345:2011; AS2210.3 2019) safety footwear is required to incorporate a toe cap that provides protection against an impact of 200 joules and a compression of 15 kilonewtons. This corresponds approximately to a weight of 20 kilograms falling from a height of 1 meter and a compression weight of 1.5 tonnes.

The toe cap does not have to be made of steel as long as it meets the relevant performance criteria. The safety footwear standards also cover other aspects of protection against mechanical trauma, slips risks, environmental conditions, some hazardous environments and the overall construction and performance of the footwear.

uvex safety footwear that is ranged in Australia and New Zealand is certified to comply with the Australian Standard (AS 2210.3) and European Standard (EN ISO 20345). Some ranges are also certified to the American Standard (ASTM 2413). These standards have been developed to provide a minimum standardised level of protection to workers in hazardous working environments.

uvex Standard Compliance

uvex mission is ‘protecting people’ and to ensure that we deliver on our mission uvex has also defined the ‘uvex Standard Compliance’. The uvex Standard Compliance specifies over performance on the key safety relevant parameters within the international standards to ensure workers are always protected. Some of the key parameters for the ‘uvex Standard Compliance’ are shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Selected performance requirements of the ‘uvex Standard Compliance’ compared to the Australian and European standards.

Australia & European Standard (AS 2210.3/ EN ISO 20345)

The safety footwear standards incorporate a number of essential performance standards that all safety footwear must meet. The key safety requirements that are required to be met by the Australian, European and American standards for all safety footwear are outlined in Table 2.

In addition to these items the Australian (AS 2210.3) and European (EN ISO 20345) standards also specify other mandatory performance requirements of safety footwear in regards to the ergonomics, upper, lining, midsole, outsole, insole and stitching. These requirements are included to ensure that the footwear performs over the life of the footwear.

Table 2. Selected essential test standards within the Australian, European and American safety footwear standards.

safety footwear standards

Hazards in the workplace

In addition to the essential requirements safety footwear standards also outline a number of additional protection standards that safety footwear can be designed to meet to protect workers from other hazards that may be present. The hazards and the performance of the corresponding safety footwear standards are outlined in Table 3.

Table 3. The additional standards in the Australian, European and American standards that provide protection against other hazards that can occur in the workplace.

hazards that can occur in the workplace

Safety Footwear Labelling

Safety footwear is required to be labelled with the standards that it complies with. Due to the number of additional standards that safety footwear can be certified to; the most common combinations have standardised abbreviations to save space on the labels. The labelling abbreviations and makeup of the standardised abbreviations are outlined in table 4.

The label found inside the footwear has the following information:

safety footwear labelling

Table 4: Labelling symbols and standardised abbreviations for the Australian, European and American safety footwear standards.

Labelling symbols safety footwear standards

Safety Footwear Selection

A site safety assessment should be carried out for all areas of a workplace before selecting an appropriate range of footwear that provides the relevant protection for each role. As multiple types of hazards can be present on the one worksite safety footwear should be task specific. This is particularly the case with some of the additional standards as some are mutually exclusive meaning it has to be either one standard or the other.

The safety footwear standards are designed to protect workers in the workplace. However, standards tests are undertaken in laboratory conditions and assessment of the performance of the footwear in the workplace should be undertaken. Once footwear with the appropriate level of protection has been established footwear with a range of fitting profiles and biomechanically sound designs should be selected to improve worker wellbeing.