Safety Shoe Codes – What Do They Mean?

There are occupations which present such daily hazards that protective gear must be worn while performing all necessary job functions. One of the most important pieces of this protective gear is a pair of safety shoes. But before you start buying inappropriate shoes make up your mind about the different safety codes that exist.

Safety shoes are readily available and are one of the easiest ways to help prevent accidents and injuries in the workplace. There are international standards which define the various levels of protection provided by safety shoes. These standards also give testing benchmarks which must be met in order for a shoe to qualify for an official classification. Safety footwear is rated on a scale from S1 to S5.

An S1 shoe is just one level above a standard safety boot or work boot. S1 class shoes have a high resistance to abrasions, steel toes and are non-slip. They also have energy absorption in the soles which can prevent injuries caused by short falls or hard impacts with the ground. This class of shoe is also required to be resistant to contact heat. In addition to all of this, S1 shoes have antistatic protection which can help to prevent static sparks.

S1 safety shoes are idea for jobs which involve the handling of flammable chemicals or gases that could be ignited with an electrostatic spark. Manufacturing and factory work fall into this category.

S2 shoes provide all of the protection of an S1 shoe, but are also waterproof. S2 class shoes are ideal for occupations where the worker must move through pools of water or chemicals. These shoes are appropriate for jobs such as outdoor maintenance, landscaping or some construction.

S3 shoes include all of the protections that are available in S1 and S2 shoes, but include the addition of a strong nail plate in the sole. This nail plate is designed to prevent injuries that may result from the shoe being punctured from the bottom. This shoe is designed for heavy construction work, demolition work and any occupation which requires movement across dangerous debris or terrain.

S4 and S5 safety shoes are identical to S1 and S3 class shoes respectively, but are made from polymers like rubber. S1 through S3 class shoes are made from non-polymers such as leather. S2 class shoes have no corresponding polymer designation because waterproofing is a basic requirement of a polymer shoe.