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Physically demanding jobs like construction and the like are strenuous for many reasons, one of them being the numerous workplace hazards workers deal with every day. Among the most common workplace hazards are electrical hazards, and to prevent injuries, workers are required to wear safety equipment or clothing when working. In order to keep the workers safe, companies require their workers to wear electrical hazard boots.
But what exactly does electrical hazard mean for boots? Let’s explain that?
What Does Electrical Hazard Mean For Boots?
Some work boots have an EH (electrical hazard) certification, among other features. An electrical hazard is a term used for a workplace hazard that can lead to different degrees of burns, electrocution, electrical shock, arc flash, fire, etc. Electrical hazard boots are work boots that have various features designed to keep the person wearing them safe from electrical injuries when in contact (through their feet) with electricity.
Electrical hazard boots are made of materials that do not allow for electricity to flow through them, i.e., non-conductive materials. Rubber is one of the most commonly used non-conductive materials and is usually used for the outsole of the boots.
Standard Requirements for Electrical Hazard Boot
A pair of work boots must meet specific criteria or standards before getting certified as electrical hazard (EH) boots. The American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) lists these two standard requirements for boots to be certified as electrical hazard boots:
- ASTM F2412-11, Standard Specification for Performance Requirement
- ASTM F2413-11, Performance Requirements for Protective (Safety) Toe Cap Footwear
For a manufacturer to classify their footwear as electrical hazard certified, the product must meet the requirements in the following sections:
- Impact Resistant Footwear section
- Compression Resistant Footwear section
Additionally, the footwear can meet other requirements like metatarsal protection, electrical hazard protection, conductive protection, puncture protection, etc.
OSHA Guidelines for Electrical Hazard Boots
According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), electrical hazard (EH) certified footwear must meet certain requirements in a specific environment as follows:
Electrical hazard boots must withstand 18000 volts of electricity with a 60-hertz frequency for 1 minute without leaking more than one milliampere in dry conditions.
OSHA guidelines also dictate that workers should wear electrical hazard boots in conjunction with other protective equipment.
Other Types of Electrical Hazard Protection Boots
Two other types of footwear offer electrical hazard protection in addition to electrical hazard boots, and they are static dissipating footwear and conductive footwear. While electrical hazard boots prevent electricity from flowing into our bodies, anti-static and conductive boots work to direct electricity out of our bodies.
Anti-static or static dissipating boots have a design that dissipates or reduces the static build-up in the body. You should wear electro-static dissipating boots in environments or job sites sensitive to static electricity. These boots direct the built-up static electricity in the body through the different parts of the boots (lining, insole, outsole) to the cement and finally ground it.
Suppose someone working in an environment sensitive to static electricity doesn’t wear dissipating boots. In that case, the static electricity builds up in the body and is released as a painful shock.
Note: The static electricity cannot be directed out of the body if the walking surface isn’t clean, grounded, or there isn’t enough contact between the outsole and the floor.
Conductive or safety-toe work boots have a design that protects people working in environments with a high risk of foot injuries. Safety toe boots have a toe box made of steel, aluminum, or a composite (non-metal) that protects the feet from various workplace hazards like electrical, puncture, impact, and slips.
To Wrap Up
Safety is not something to be compromised, as the slightest error could lead to severe injuries and, in some cases, death.
Whether you specifically handle hazardous materials or there is a risk of you accidentally coming in contact with them, you should always wear your protective equipment. When it comes to electricity, one of the essential steps in being safe is wearing your electrical hazard boots.