There are various types of hazards in every workplace. The best way to protect employees is to do a risk assessment. The risk assessment identifies the hazards and their sources. Then by using the processes of elimination, administrative control, substitution, and engineering measures – protect the employees. As these controls do not offer sufficient protection; Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) is recommended. These PPE should meet ASTM F2413-18 standards.
What is ASTM F2413-18?
ASTM F2413-18 is a safety standard for footwear with a protective toe cap. This toe cap is integrated or constructed into the work boots. Then these boots are checked for –
- Impact resistance
- Compression resistance
- Puncture resistance
- Conductive protection
- Metatarsal protection
- Electric hazard resistance
- Static dissipative properties
In short ASTM F2413 refers to the minimum design and performance of the work boots to protect against hazards at the workplace. The standard covers the testing and labeling criteria and classification requirements. The boots meeting these criteria and requirements are described as fit, functional, and performing in hazardous workplaces which may result in injury. These requirements are mentioned under Section 5.2 (impact resistance) and 5.3 (compression resistance).
There are additional sections that mention requirements such as electric hazard resistance, conductive protection, metatarsal protection, static dissipative properties, and protection against punctures. The test methods for compression and impact resistance have been described in the ASTM F2412-18a.
The impact resistance requirement expects the protective toe to withstand the force of 75 foot-pounds. The minimum height clearance of the protective toe on the inside should be 0.5 inches for men’s work boots and 0.468 inches for women’s work boots. The work boot is subjected to 2500 foot-pounds of compression during the test. The expected interior height clearance is the same for compression resistance.
All work boots made to ASTM specifications should be marked and labeled in compliance with the standard. One shoe of each pair should be legibly marked. These marks may be a pressure-sensitive label, or the information can be stamped or embroidered on to the boots.
The marking may be placed on the gusset, tongue, shaft, or quarter lining of the shoe. This rectangular mark should have the information in a four-line format. Line 4 is used only when over 3 sections of standards apply to the footwear.
Each protective toe-cap should be marked with the manufacturer’s name and logo. The cap’s identification or number, its size, and right (R) or left (L) should be marked conspicuously on the boot. Each puncture-resistant device or metatarsal guard should be marked with the device number/identification, manufacturer’s name, and logo conspicuously.
Here is an example of ASTM F2413-18 label/markings.
Line 1 – ASTM F2413-18
This line identifies the ASTM standard for protective footwear. It informs that the footwear meets the performance requirements for ASTM F2413 standard issued in the year 2018.
Line 2 – M/I/C
This line indicates the gender the footwear is intended for – male (M) or female (F). The letter “I” stands for impact resistance and “C” for compression resistance.
Line 3 & 4 – EH
These lines indicate that that work boot is made to offer protection from certain hazards mentioned in the standard. These boots carry electrical hazard resistance properties (EH), metatarsal protection (Mt), conductive (Cd) properties, puncture resistance (PR), and static electricity dissipative properties (SD).
Metatarsal protection (Mt) reduces the chances of injury to the top of the foot. This protection is an integral part of the boot. These protection devices are subjected to a force of 75 pounds. The internal clearance requirement is 1 inch for men’s and 0.937 inches for women’s boots.
Conductive (Cd) work boots offer protection against the build-up of static electricity. The sparks caused by such a build-up are sufficient to ignite volatile chemicals and explosives. The boots ground the charge and offer an electrical resistance ranging from 0 to 500000 ohms.
Electrical hazard (EH) boots have non-conductive, shock-resistant heels and soles. The outsole is secondary protection against electric shock. It protects the wearer against incidental contact with live wires, circuits, energized conductors, apparatus, and parts. The footwear should withstand 18000 volts at 60 Hertz for a minute. There should not be flow or leakage of a current excess of a milliampere for one minute in dry conditions.
Static dissipative (SD) work boots offer protection against hazards due to low footwear resistance. These boots have a high level of resistance to electric shock and static electricity. Three levels of resistance are designated – SD 100, SD 35, and SD 10.
Boots with SD 100 have an electrical resistance between 106ohms (1 megohm) to 108ohms (100 megohms). Boots with SD 35 have an electrical resistance between 106ohms to 3.5 x 107ohms (35 megohms). Boots with SD 10 offer resistance between 106ohms to 1.0 x 107ohms (10 megohms).
Puncture-resistant (PR) boots have a plate between the insole and outsole. It is an integral part of the boot. The bottom of such a work boot is subjected to a force of 270 pounds with no signs of penetration.
This plate reduces the possibility of injury by a sharp object impaling the foot from the bottom of the shoe. A boot with such a device should also show signs of corrosion when exposed to a 5% salt solution for 24 hours.
A change to the original components and devices in the work boot may cause the failure of the protection. In other words, replacing or adding after-market inserts or footbeds violates the ASTM F2412-18a and F2413-18 standards. The markings on the boots will be invalid.
This means that any change in the insole thickness greater than 25 percent will require the boot to be retested. The manufacturers and providers have to keep abreast of the annual revisions and updates. These revisions are incorporated into the footwear and recertified within a year of the issuing date.
ASTM F2413-18 & Add-On Devices
ASTM F2413-18 standard is nullified with the use of add-on devices on the work boots. These add-ons may include strap-on metatarsal, foot or toe guards. These cannot substitute for protective footwear. This is because – the entire boot – the materials and construction function as protection.
ASTM F2413-18 and ASTM F2412-18a standards prescribe that the toe cap and or the metatarsal guard be designed and constructed into the boot. And this construction to be manufactured into each work boot, which should also pass through quality control tests.
Add-on devices are acceptable to OSHA, as stated in 1910.136 (b) (2). It states that – The boots or add-ons provided by the employer should demonstrate effective protection equivalent to that provided by the prescribed protective footwear by the ASTM standards. Only then are such boots and devices acceptable to OSHA.
To meet this caveat, most manufacturers submit their devices to independent laboratories for testing. The data is made available on request.
OSHA, ANSI and ASTM Standards
When you read about protective footwear you come across OSHA, ANSI, and ASTM. Here we clarify the relationship between these bodies. Protective footwear also called safety boots are covered under the OSHA Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements for the general industry. These requirements are given under the 29 Code of Federal Regulations 1910 Subpart I.
The general requirements for all types of PPE have been spelled out in section 1910. 132 and the requirements for specific footwear have been mentioned in 1910. 136. The 29 CFR 1910.132 recommends the use of PPE whenever the hazard assessment at a workplace indicates their presence.
According to 29 CFR 1910.136(a); each employee is expected to wear protective footwear in areas where there is a possibility of a foot injury. These injuries may be caused by rolling or falling objects. Or objects piercing the sole by a puncture. The employee’s feet may be exposed to electrical hazards such as live wires.
Appendix B – Subpart I enlist the occupations where foot protection should be considered routinely. The enlisted occupations are the machinists, carpenters, stock clerks, mechanics, plumbers, repairers, dry-wallers, assemblers, and lathers. The list also mentions freight handlers, packers, welders, craters, and gardeners. It continues enlisting sawyers, laborers, groundskeepers, loggers, and timber cutters, etc.
The 29 CFR 1910.136 refers to the ASTM F2412-05 and F2413-05 Standard Test Methods. The former tests footwear or protection and the latter for specific performance requirements of such footwear. Similar standards are also covered under ANSI’s National Standard for Personal Protection – ANSI Z41-1999 & Z41-1991 – cover Protective Footwear.
On 1st March 2005, the ANSI Z41 reference was replaced by the ASTM Standards. On 9th September 2009, OSHA revised the PPE sections for general industry, shipyard employment, long-shoring, and marine terminals. These sections recommended standards for use of face, eyes, head, and foot protective devices.
These references and regulations recognized 3 more recent editions. These editions are applicable by national consensus standards. They covered the test methods for F2412 – foot protection, F2413 – protective (safety) toe cap footwear, and F2892 – non-safety or soft-toe protective footwear.
What does ASTM mean?
ASTM is an abbreviation for American Society for Testing and Materials or ASTM International is a body that develops technical standards that are accepted by all industries.
Are ASTM F2313-18 compliant boots slip-resistant?
No ASTM F2313-18 boots are not slip-resistant. An independent organization called SATRA tests work boots for slip resistance. The National Floor Safety Institute has prescribed test criteria and floor treatments for slip resistance.
What are the various standards recognized by ASTM International?
ASTM International publishes 6 types of standards for test methods, classification, specification, practice, terminology, and guide.
What is the relationship between ASTM F2413-11 and ASTM F2413-18?
The ASTM F2413-18 replaced the ASTM F2413-11. These standards cover test methods for foot protection, safety toe-cap footwear, and soft-toe footwear.
What is the ASTM Standard for work boots?
The ASTM F2413-18 expects the work footwear to have a protective toe cap to be an integral part of the boot. The toe cap may be composite or steel toe and tested to guard against compression and impact.
What is the difference between ASTM and ISO?
American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) is a national organization that is a part of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ISO has representations from all countries, including ASTM. Its function is to establish, document, and update the standards for testing materials. It establishes these standards with consensus from experts associated with these national organizations.