Safety First with Steel Toe Work Boots

work boots signWhile the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) does require the use of protective footwear when working under risky conditions, I’ve also heard some pretty gruesome testimonies about steel toe work boots actually being more dangerous than regular, soft toe ones.

Picture this: You’re working in a tractor factory, when a 1000 lb chunk accidentally falls on your foot. The steel insert in your work boots, instead of deflecting the weight, yields to the pressure and curls in — cutting off your toes. In that case, the very piece of steel that’s supposed to protect your foot ironically becomes the cause of more injury.

The Verdict: Are Steel Toe Work Boots Still Advisable?

In search of a reasonable answer to this question, I surveyed both the testimonials of steel toe work boot horrors and actual experiments done to prove or disprove the reported dangers of wearing steel toe shoes. All things considered, more evidences still show that wearing steel-toed boots is a better bet than wearing regular boots. For instance, an arbor press test showed that the steel-toed shoe was able to withstand 6000 lbs of pressure before total failure, while the regular boot failed at about 1200 lbs.

As for the cited testimonies of amputation due to injury while wearing steel toe work boots, one could see that considering the degree of injury, there would still be amputation regardless of the type of boot used. As one argument rightly pointed out, all protective equipment has limitations, and severe injury should be avoided by better engineering controls and not merely by depending on protective footwear.

How to Choose the Right Boots for You

For maximum protection, and comfort, look for the following key features when buying steel toe work boots.

First, check for durable leather construction. The best ones are made of full-grain leather, which has the most fiber strength and durability and also allows for more breath-ability.

Also, look for boots that not only protect the top of your feet, but also the soles. Anti-skid, lightweight, rubber soles that are resistant to slips and punctures are ideal.

As for the inside of the shoes, look for padded insoles that absorb shock and water resistant linings that can keep your feet dry.

Most importantly, ensure that you get a pair of boots in the right size. Buy boots that aren’t too snugly fit. This will allow space for both air to circulate and for the swelling that typically occurs when you spend all day on your feet.

Keep in mind that you are the one in the best position to ensure your own safety. Now that you know what makes the best pair of steel-toed boots, you are better equipped to make informed choices. Steel toe work shoes are not a fail-safe guarantee against injury, but they are among the first steps.

Child Safety Seat Requirements

Child Car Seat SafetyAlthough it may not seem it, purchasing a car seat can often be a difficult and painful process when you don’t know what you need or where to start. Being such an important child safety item, it’s important to do your research before you buy.

It’s not enough to just have a car seat. While some seats do offer more safety and ease of use features then other seats might, no one seat is the “best” or “safest.” The most important aspects of choosing a restraint are that it:

  • fits your child
  • fits your vehicle
  • is a restraint you will install and use correctly every time you travel
  • fits your budget

How to Choose a Safe Car Seat for Your Child

  • Make sure you buy a restraint that comes with clear instructions on how to install it correctly.
  • Ensure that the restraint you are purchasing meets an approved standard accepted in Europe.
  • Keep in mind the steps necessary to correctly install and remove the restraint from your vehicle. This is especially important if you need to do this regularly as the seat will need to fit comfortably in both cars.
  • Make sure that the restraint purchased is suitable for your vehicle, particularly if you have a small car or older vehicle. Will there be enough room for other passengers? Not all child restraints fit in all cars so it’s a good idea to try before you buy.
  • Make sure that the seat you are buying is suitable for your child’s weight, height and age. Weigh your child and measure their height. The torso height is the most important measurement, measure from the child’s bottom to the tip of their head and also their shoulder height. Check the user manual for the seats weight and/or height limitations before you purchase your restraint to make sure it is suitable.
  • Don’t base your decision on what seat to get on price alone. A higher price does not always indicate that the seat is any better then others on the market.
  • Because it is recommended to have children in the rear-facing position till they are at least one year of age, you need to consider the maximum weight and height limitations of your capsule and/or convertible restraint. Too small a limitation and your child may have to be turned before they are one. Try and purchase a convertible car seat with a rear-facing weight limit of at least 12 kg, the majority of children should get to at least one year of age rear-facing at that weight. Though, the higher the rear-facing weight limit and the taller the seat the better of course.

If you have any further queries about these products then please contact the manufacturer of the child safety seat or child safety seat accessory that you are interested in.

Common Sense Forklift Safety

Forklift Safety TipsRoutinely handling loads of more than 1,000 pounds, forklifts have the potential to cause serious injury or death if an operator is not properly trained or acts in a less than cautious manner. Every year, about 100 deaths and 20,000 serious injuries can be attributed to forklift related incidents.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Surveillance System, vehicular accidents are one of the leading causes of workplace fatalities. The top 4 causes of forklift related deaths were the forklift overturning, a worker being struck by the forklift, a person crushed by the forklift and a person falling from the forklift.

Why Is Forklift Safety Important?

With the inherent danger of operating such a vehicle, forklift safety is a priority. Despite all of the rules and regulations, people still are injured or die from forklift accidents. Most of those accidents could have been avoided if the proper attention to all safety precautions was followed.

Unfortunately, people are not perfect. They don’t always pay attention to forklift safety rules. Experienced operators often use the forks and an empty pallet to lift a worker twenty feet up in the air to pull something off of a shelf. More than a few workers have lost their balance and taken a serious or even deadly fall.

There is no excuse for racing forklifts or speeding around the warehouse. Anyone caught violating such basic forklift safety rules should be fired immediately. A forklift driver must undergo special training to be certified as a qualified forklift operator. Training includes formal classroom instruction, practical, hands-on training on the type of fork lift they will be operating and an evaluation of their performance under actual working conditions.

Forklift safety rules require the forklift operator to be at least 18 years of age. You should always be aware of your surroundings. Never drive a forklift with the forks above the operator’s head. Make sure the load you are picking up is well balanced and secured on the pallet. Don’t speed!

There are literally hundreds of rules to help keep fork lift operation safe. Common sense is really the most important. Do not attempt to pick up loads heavier than the forklift is rated to lift. This can cause the forklift to tip over. Do not lift people. Make sure that there is no gap between an empty truck and the loading platform.

Always keep the vehicle under tight control. Lower the forks when empty. Only use a fork lift for approved situations and do not add non-conforming parts or attachments that can throw the forklift out of balance.

Certified operators should know all the safety precautions and should always operate their forklift with those precautions in mind.