ASTM F2413 is a standard that covers the minimum design and performance of protective footwear. This footwear is tested, labeled, and classified by requirements. ASTM F2413 prescribes the fit, the footwear function, and its performance criteria. This design is to be worn to provide the best protection against various hazards that may cause workplace injuries. ASTM F2413-17 is the current version of protective footwear compliance.
These are the performance requirements for safety toe-cap footwear according to the specifications of this Standard. The footwear manufacturers, employers, and employees are expected to comply with these safety standards. Drywall installers, carpenters, stock clerks, electricians, machinists, shipping-receiving clerks, mechanics, lathers, plumbers, assemblers, and packers are expected to wear ASTM F2413-17 compliant boots.
Other professionals such as repairers, wrappers, craters, punch and stamping press operators, welders, sawyers, laborers, and freight handlers are enlisted. Safety toe boots are recommended for loggers, gardeners, groundskeepers, lumberjacks, stock handlers, and warehouse laborers, too.
Benefits of ASTM F2413-17 Standard for Safety Footwear
Outfitting employees with safety footwear that is compliant with the ASTM F2413-17 Standard not only protects the employee’s feet, it also heightens morale. This improved productivity and cuts out the loss of work hours.
To abide by Federal regulations enforced by OSHA safety footwear is essential for personnel in industrial set-ups. OSHA enlists rules and regulations for the workplace safety of these section 29 CFR 1910.136 covers occupational foot protection.
Safety footwear has been discussed in the Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) section of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards. This section highlights the issues that should be noted by employers in the industrial, construction, government, and service fields. Observing these rules and regulations also reduce the number of worker injuries. Observing these standards saves thousands of dollars in worker compensation fees. ASTM F2413-17 compliant footwear not only prevents permanent disability but also loss of productivity.
ASTM F2413-17 standards save a lot of money for employers. This is because failure to comply with the regulations of OSHA and similar labor protection agencies results in sanctions, warnings, and fines. Some citations can be a few thousand dollars. In 2018, OSHA raised penalties to $12,600 for ‘serious’ and ‘other than serious’ violations. The fine for ‘failure to abate’ violations is $12,934 per day. The penalties can be as high as $129,336 for willful and repeated violations.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the data indicates that approximately 100,000 cases of occupational foot injuries were recorded in 2016. This meant at least 10 days away from work and loss of productivity. If the employers add up the cost of the fines and loss of productivity because of the injury. Plus the potential worker’s compensation and the possibility of additional hire. The lack of foot protection can work out to be very costly for the company.
Why observe ASTM F2413-17 Standards for Safety Toe Cap Footwear?
The standard put in place by the Federal Government states in section 29 CFR 1910.136(a) that PPE is the employer’s responsibility towards their employees. The section states that the employer requires to ensure that the affected employee uses safety footwear while working in environments that may endanger the foot. The dangers may be injuries by rolling or falling objects or by piercing or puncture of the sole. The protective boots should protect against electrical hazards such as electric shock, static discharge, and live wires. The employer is obligated to provide protective measures to the employees.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suggests safety footwear be worn in the following situations. While working with;
- Toxic or corrosive materials
- Electrical hazards
- Static charge (electricity) that could lead to an explosion
- Heavy objects that may roll onto the employee’s feet
- Sharp objects that could puncture the sole
- Molten metal, hot or corrosive liquids that could splash onto feet
- Slippery or hot surfaces
Bodies such as ASNI, ASTM International, OSHA have laws & standards that require the employer to provide the employees with safe working conditions free of dangers. The Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act sets and enforces this protective workplace safety and health standards.
These bodies recommend conducting an assessment by a consultant or in-house safety personnel. The assessment should determine the need for Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) and the safety footwear to be worn.
Even though these labor agencies dictate the use of Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) and safety footwear. It is organizations like ASTM International that set the performance requirements for footwear in the United States of America.
This organization develops and publishes the technical standards for a variety of products. This organization is globally recognized and respected for its work. It is a requisite for protective footwear in the USA to comply with ASTM standards.
Every five years, various committees of experts review these standards. They ensure that the standards are comprehensive and up-to-date. They are revised, if necessary. The revisions are necessary to keep up with the evolving needs of the industries and markets. The most current standard for safety footwear was released in 2017–the ASTM F2413-17.
What Does the ASTM F2413-17 Standard Mean?
All safety footwear should comply with this standard set by ASTM International—the ASTM F2413-17. This is the current version that describes the Standard Specification for the Performance Requirements for all Protective (Safety) Toe Cap Footwear.
The ASTM International standard F2412 or the ASTM F2412-18 is the current version for the Test Methods for Foot Protection. Both these standards are under the jurisdiction of ASTM Committee F13, which covers Pedestrian or Walkway Safety and Footwear.
ASTM Standards set forth minimum requirements for footwear performance for protection against various hazards at a workplace. The hazards are;
Impact is defined as the dropping or falling of an object on the foot. When an object weighing 50 pounds is dropped from the height of 18 inches. It delivers a blow or impact of 75 foot-pounds on the toe of the boot. The test results indicate that the safety toes able to withstand this impact are labeled as I/75.
Compression is defined as an object rolling onto the foot. The boot with a safety toe that can withstand 2500 pounds of force is labeled as C/75.
ASTM F2413-17 requires the impact and compression-resistant boots to have toe-caps constructed into the boot. This means that these safety toes can not be removed. Such protective boots are labeled as I/75/C/75.
Beyond impact and compression resistance, these work boots required for various types of jobs will have to meet another specific list of standards. This means if the personnel is required to buy an ASTM-certified boot with a specified designation as follows;
What does it mean? Line 1 informs you that the boot meets the current ASTM F2413 standard put instated in the year 2017. Line 2 informs that the boot is for a male (M). It has an impact rating of I/75 and a compression rating of C/75. Line 3 indicates that it offers Metatarsal Protection (Mt) against a force of 75 foot-pounds.
Here is a list of rating abbreviations;
- I/75 is Impact rating
- C/75 is the Compression rating
- Mt/75 is Metatarsal rating
- CD stands for Conductive properties
- EH indicates Electrical hazard properties
- SD 100 indicates Static dissipative (1-100 megohms)
- SD 35 denotes Static dissipative (1-35 megohms)
- SD 10 is for Static dissipative (1-10 megohms)
- PR denotes Puncture resistant
- M indicates that the footwear is for a male
- F means the footwear is for a female
Health and safety experts recommend ASTM-compliant shoes for personnel in certain industrial and non-industrial settings. This is because add-ons such as strap-on metatarsal guards, toe caps, and shin guards fit awkwardly over street footwear. This may cause difficulty in walking and maintaining balance, which may prove hazardous in certain work environments. The employees may also forget to wear them. Thus it is safer for everyone to wear ASTM F2413-17 conforming footwear in industrial settings.
Selecting the Right Boots for the Job
Each industry has a specific set of requirements to meet specific dangers. ASTM International tests work boots and recommend various types for various working conditions.
For instance, ASTM F2413-17 Standards recommend boots with safety toes for industries like construction, machinery, etc. Here the danger of heavy objects falling or rolling onto a personnel’s feet is a daily concern. Heat-resistant soles protect the feet from overheating or scalding on hot metal, roofs, or paving.
Electrically conductive boots protect against a build-up of a charge of static electricity. The discharge may cause a spark leading to an explosion or fire. These boots should not be worn with woolen, silk, or nylon socks.
The boots for electrical hazards prevent the wearer from completing the circuit with the ground. These boots serve as a secondary source of protection to the personnel in case they step on live wires, energized conductors, circuits, apparatus, or parts.
These boots can withstand 18000V at 60Hz for a minute with no current flow or leakage above 1.0mA in dry conditions. It should be noted that the protection offered by these boots deteriorates in wet conditions.
Due to varying working conditions and hazards faced by a person in a work environment. It is essential to understand the safety footwear requirements. As every work environment’s safety requirements differ, manufacturers make footwear that meets the ASTM F2413-17 Standards. These manufacturers and retailers recommend appropriate boots for specific jobs.
The more dangerous the working conditions, the more specific will be the boot design to meet these challenges. For example, firefighters select their work boots from a line created specifically for the job. The design and manufacturing process is regulated by a specific National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards. Similarly, electrical hazard boots are designed for workplaces where the chance of stepping on a live wire is higher.
As a precautionary measure, check the work boots at regular intervals. Check them for cracks, leaks, wear, and tear. They should be repaired and cleaned regularly. Such a routine not only prolongs the life of safety footwear. It also helps determine if the protective boots should be replaced.
Each time a heavy object falls on a composite toe, its integrity may be compromised. Steel toes should be checked for dents and displacement. If the protective toe is compromised in any manner, it should be replaced. Nails, pieces of metal, and other debris should be removed from the soles using a brush or pincers. The boots should be inspected before every use.
Does OSHA facilitate employers to remain updated regarding safety regulations?
OSHA offers training and guidance through grants. They also form strategic partnership programs within the associations and trade unions. They have voluntary protection programs and consultation assistance for employers who want to comply with the regulations. The resources are mentioned on the OSHA website.
What mandate are all employers obligated to fulfill?
Fulfilling the OSHA mandate is much more than meeting an obligation to the government. It is about protecting lives and maintaining a safe workplace. For this, the employer should conduct a hazard assessment at the workplace. They should direct the employees to wear protective gear that meets the relevant ASTM standards. Employers have several choices of protective footwear to pick from to avoid foot-related injuries.
How are ASTM F2413-17 compliant footwear valuable assets?
These boots offer a vital layer of protection. Adages like prevention are better than cure, and safety first; comes to mind when considering ASTM F2413-17 compliant footwear. The cost of safety footwear is covered when an injury is prevented. This injury could have put the worker out of commission for weeks or even caused permanent damage. Companies have to hand out thousands of dollars on worker compensation, not to mention suffer a loss of productivity. Thus a stitch in time saves nine. A little investment in safety footwear brings so many benefits.
Are composite toe work boots OSHA approved?
Many brands of composite toe boots meet ASTM F2413-17 and OSHA standards. They are made of non-metallic materials such as Kevlar. They are also nonconductive this preferred by electricians, engineers, etc.
Does OSHA require steel toe work boots?
According to OSHA regulations, the employer does not have to pay for non-specialty safety-toe work boots, including steel-toe footwear. This is provided the employer permits such items to be worn off the worksite.