What are ASTM Standards?

What are ASTM Standards?

ASTM- American Society for Testing and Materials. In short, ASTM is one of the largest voluntary standards developing organizations in the world. Meaning they create Standards, which are documents that give manufacturers information about procedures and regulations in their specific industry. They provide guidance for individuals, companies and other institutions around the world.

Who uses ASTM Standards?

Many members of the scientific community have been using ASTM standards to guide them in their research and development in their laboratories and offices. Alongside them, architects, government agencies and many others have used ASTM standards to reference plans, regulations, laws and other useful information.

Saf-GardTM complies with all regulations set forth and with the help of ASTM and ANSI collaborate on the “American National Standard for Personal Protective Footwear” which sets clear specifications and performance requirements for all protective footwear.

Our Standards:

STEEL TOE

In 1995 OSHA began enforcing a new standard for personal protective equipment (PPE). As part of this standard, employers now require ASTM F2413-05 (formerly ANSI Z41 PT99) rated safety footwear (steel toe boots, etc.) in areas where employees are exposed to injury as a result of falling or rolling objects. All steel toe shoes meet or exceed ASTM F2413-05 (formerly ANSI Z41 PT99) I/75 C/75 standards.

METATARSAL GUARD (MG)

Metatarsal guard footwear protects both the toes and the metatarsal bone behind the toes. Metatarsal guard shoes are required in any environment where injuries can occur to the metatarsal bone. They are most commonly used in foundries,  air product distribution, and other heavy manufacturing. All styles marked with the “MG” icon meet the ASTM F2413-05 (formerly ANSI Z41 PT99) I/75 C/75 standards.

STATIC DISSIPATIVE (SD)

SD shoes regulate the build-up of electrical charge in a person’s body. Electrostatic dissipative shoes are commonly used for those who work in the manufacturing of computer components, solvent-based paints, explosives, and plastics. SD products reduce the risk of static shock to people and to the manufactured product. All safety shoes marked with the “SD” icon meet the ASTM F2413-05 (formerly ANSI Z41 PT99) I/75 C/75 SD.

CONDUCTIVE (CD)

Conductive shoes protect against the hazards of static electricity build-up. They are intended to protect the wearer in an environment where the accumulations of static electricity on the body is a hazard. These shoes should not be worn by people working near open electrical circuits. All styles marked with the “CD” icon meet the ASTM F2413-05 (formerly ANSI Z41 PT99) I/75 C/75 CD.

COMPOSITE TOE

Compared to their steel toe counterparts the composite toes are manufactured using lightweight materials to make the shoe weigh less while meeting SEMC® safety-toes exceed both ASTM F2413-05 (formerly ANSI Z41 PT99) I/75 and C/75 standards. The SEMC® safety-toes retain heat in severe cold, are 30% lighter than steel and are non-metallic for electronic security work environments.

ELECTRICAL HAZARD (EH)

ASTM F2413-05 Electrical Hazard safety footwear provides workers with a secondary source of protection from live circuits, wires or highly charged electrical equipment. The insulating properties of such footwear are measured under dry conditions and may deteriorate in wet environments with wear.

SLIP RESISTANT (SR)

Slip resistant safety footwear is the fastest-growing segment of the safety footwear industry. The reason: today’s slip resistant shoes work. For many employers with wet, oily, and/or greasy floors, it is common sense to require slip resistant safety footwear. Slip related injuries can be extremely costly. Employers who require slip resistant boots and shoes reduce workers’ compensation claims. This is good news for everyone.

 

Want to learn more about these standards, or the services we offer? Check us out at www.safgard.com today!

How to Prevent Buying Painful Safety Shoes

You know that feeling you get when you commit to something, and you know from the start that you shouldn’t? Like lease agreements in not-so-great apartments, expensive gym memberships, and last but certainly not least, improper fitting safety toe shoes that cause painful rubbing sensations on your toes?

Each one of those scenarios is painful for different reasons, and we’ve all been there. While we can’t help you with all of the issues above, we can certainly give you some guidance on how to find the perfect fit when it comes to safety toe footwear… one out of three bad scenarios isn’t the best, but darn it, it’s something!

Let’s jump in…

Remember, safety toe comfort comes in length, not width

You have to get a shoe long enough to accommodate the back and forth toe movement in the shoes. The proper fit happens when the widest point of your foot (the ball) is located exactly in the widest part of the shoe. When that happens, the arch of your foot fits precisely with the arch of the shoe, giving you maximum support.

So what’s happening?

Your arch has probably dropped over the years, extending the toes of the shoes forward. This back and forth motion of your toes is why you need to fit your shoes (not just safety shoes) using your arch measurement.

Are you measuring up?

The arch measurement can be obtained with a Brannock Foot Measuring Device, you can find this in most reputable shoe stores. For more information on how to measure your feet, check out our blog here.

Suggestion: Try to get your foot measured in a shoe store before you buy your next pair of safety shoes to see if your arch has dropped a little, extending the toes further into your shoes to the point where they are rubbing the safety toe.

Reason: As we age and potentially get weaker and heavier your arch drops. When the arch drops, it causes our feet to get longer. It happens to everyone! We know, in your younger days your shoe size might have been 9.5; and now you wear an 11 at 50 years of age. Over that time, you’ve probably also gone from a 32-inch waist to a 36, and packed on a few extra pounds. Time is, after all, a cruel master.

Now, your foot really hasn’t grown in this timespan, it’s just changed shape (the same thing happened to our waistlines… right?). The arch drops and the toes and arch extend further in the shoe. All this means is that you need a longer shoe.

If you are finding that you still don’t seem to have enough distance widthwise, you can look into getting a wider safety toe shoe.

One final tip: Bigger brands typically have their shoes made by different manufacturers. Different styles within the same brand may fit differently because of this fact. Again, the most reliable solution is to try the shoes on and test the location of the “ball” of your foot in the shoe to make sure you are getting the right fit.

Try out some of these tips, and you should be able to find the perfect fit!

Still a little confused? Our retail store associates and Mobile Shoe Managers are all trained and ready to help you find the best safety toe shoes for your needs! Click here to find a location near you!

Staying Safe in an Electric Environment

It’s getting electric in here.

Actually though, electricity is everywhere. It’s in our homes, at work, in the sky, underground; and it’s not very fun when it shocks us. Many people working in the trade industry work with electricity on a daily basis, and it’s important to know how to be safe around it. Electrical hazards can cause shocks, burns, and even workplace fires if the hazard is too large.

So let’s simmer things down in here and learn how to be safe in a “lit” environment.

How does electricity actually work?

We know that science might not be your forte, but bare with us for a second…

Electricity flows through conductors, and these are surfaces that offer very little resistance to the flow of electricity (such as metals). Insulators stop the flow of electricity, and these can be surfaces like glass, plastic, clay, dry wood, etc. However, water can turn these insulators into conductors very quickly. You know the dry wood that you’re using to cover up some wires? Well, it just rained and now it’s a giant lightning rod. Zap.

The shocking facts

Electricity travels in closed circuits, typically through conductors. However, when you decide to come into contact with one of these conductors, then congratulations! Your own body is now a conductor, and you’re being shocked.

What happens when this electricity jolts through your body? If it’s a small amount of electricity, you’ll only feel a slight, albeit annoying, shock. If the amount increases, your muscles will contract and your body will “freeze” due to the shock. If the electricity levels rise above this, you’re flirting with heart failure and death. So let’s not try that.

Staying safe

According to OSHA, most electrical accidents result from either unsafe equipment, an unsafe work environment, or unsafe work practices. The best ways to prevent electrical injuries is through the use of insulation, guarding, grounding, circuit protection devices, and safe work practices.

Insulators, like we mentioned earlier, are materials used to coat metals and other conductors to stop them from, well, conducting. Insulation on conductors is often color coded as well.

Guarding involves enclosing or hiding electric equipment to ensure that people don’t accidentally come into contact with it. If you’re using electric equipment with exposed parts that could be dangerous, hide this equipment away in a separate room or vault and place adequate warning signs around it. Only qualified professionals should have access to this hidden area.

Grounding means intentionally creating a low-resistance path that connects the tool or electrical system to the earth. This prevents a buildup of voltages, but doesn’t completely remove the risk of electric shock. Grounding should be combined with other methods that we’ve mentioned.

Circuit protection devices limit or stop the flow of an electric current automatically in a necessary situation like a short circuit or overload of a system. Examples of these devices are fuses and circuit breakers. Essentially, these are your best friends in a highly electric environment.

While all of the methods that we’ve mentioned will help with electrical hazards, the best way to prevent electrical accidents is through safe work practices. De-energize all electric equipment before inspections or repairs, keep all electric tools properly maintained, exercise caution when working near electric lines, and always wear appropriate protective equipment.

Looking for some safety shoes that reduce the risk of electric hazards? Feel free to check us out at https://www.safgard.com/mens-shoes/features/electrical-hazard

Recovering From Foot Injuries

Recovering from Foot Injuries

Feet get injured more often than you would think. They carry the weight of your entire body, so that places a lot of stress on them every day (some of us more than others, take from that what you will). There’s obviously never a good time for a foot injury to keep you stuck in bed or on a couch, but the recovery process can be relatively simple if done correctly. Here’s our steps for recovering from a foot injury:

Rest and Assess

So your foot is swollen and painful, and life just seems terrible right now. But congratulations! You get to lay around and do nothing for 48-72 hours or longer. Enjoy all of the binge watching, video gaming, and napping while you can. When you suffer a foot injury, one of the biggest things you need to do is keep off of that foot as much as possible! And you should definitely not attempt the activity that caused the injury again (that means no working, oh no).

If you are completely unable to put any weight on the foot and it’s becoming really swollen, it’s time for a doctor to take a look at it. They went to medical school and we didn’t, so they’ll be able to treat your injury and tell you how to recover.

And it may seem like common sense, but don’t do anything that may further aggravate the injury. No running, jumping, exercising, climbing, brazilian jiu jitsu or any work-related activities that may injure your foot. You’re an elementary schooler on summer vacation again. Embrace the temporary nothingness!

Ice and Elevate

When you suffer a foot injury, your body’s immediate response is to flood the area with blood and cause swelling. Don’t be mad at your body; it’s only trying to help.

To reduce this swelling and pain, apply ice to the foot for about 30 minutes every two to three hours. Do not over-ice your foot or go to sleep with an ice pack on. We’re trying to heal the injury, not create another one by giving you frostbite.

Another way to reduce this swelling is to lay down and elevate your foot by resting it on a pillow or something similar. Here’s your excuse to lay in bed and watch TV all day. And if the pain is still too much, try either wrapping the foot using a compression wrap (not too tightly) or reach for the ibuprofen in the medicine cabinet.

R&R (Relax and Rehab)

Only your doctor will know your specific rehabilitation schedule, so once again, listen to them over an internet blog. Once your pain and swelling has subsided, begin attempting some light activities slowly. Swimming is a great exercise to try that isn’t too hard on your feet. We don’t want you running a marathon just yet.

Always warm up and stretch your injured foot first to make sure that it’s actually ready to try an exercise like swimming again. Your mobility will come back slowly, so don’t rush it at first. Increase your foot’s workload bit by bit as you recover, and if you ever suddenly feel the pain coming back, stop your activity immediately.

Stabilize and Recover

Depending on the severity of your injury, it could take weeks or months before you can walk again. As you eventually begin walking again, you can always use a cane or pair of crutches to assist you. Make sure you follow up with your doctor to ensure that your foot has recovered properly.

Also during this recovery process, wear stable shoes! No flip flops or high heels that can cause trips and sprains. And if your injury was caused at work thanks to shoes lacking in stability and safety attributes such as slip resistant soles or safety toes, feel free to check out all of our safety shoes at www.safgard.com

Exercises for Preventing Foot Injuries

Unfortunately, people don’t always wear safety shoes when they should. Obviously, we don’t recommend doing that. You could hurt yourself and cost your company a lot of money. And unless you really hate your job, who wants that to happen?

However, sometimes accidents just happen. But there are some foot exercises that you can do on a regular basis to prevent these injuries.

Heel and Toe Walks

Heels and toes aren’t getting along right now, so let’s take each of them on separate walks for this exercise. Basically, spend a minute or so walking around on your heels, and then spend another minute or two walking on just your toes. This can improve strength in different areas of your feet and improve mobility, by isolating various parts of your foot.

Toe Lifts

Do you even toe lift, bro?

Yes, your toes can lift too. However, you’ll only be lifting a marble instead of a giant dumbbell (don’t try lifting a dumbbell with your toes, please. You won’t look cool). Use your toes to pick up a marble and lift it up. Hold the marble in the air for 20 seconds, repeat twice, and then switch feet and do the same thing. If you’re finding that that’s too easy, try using just one toe at a time.

Foot Taps

Here’s an exercise that you can do while sitting (the best kind of exercise). Simply sit with your feet on the floor and tap them 50 times with your heel remaining on the ground. You can even play airport background noises and pretend that you’re waiting for a flight that’s been delayed twice already.

Toe Spelling

Let’s take your feet to school. For this exercise, you will need to elevate one foot, and then write the alphabet in the air with your toes. This flexes your ankle and uses a lot of muscles in your feet. After you’ve finished with one foot, do the same thing with the other one. You can even sing along out loud (best recommended if you live alone).

Toe Spread

While seated (woo!), place a thick rubber band around your toes. You can use two bands if one isn’t tight enough to provide resistance. Spread your toes apart and hold this position for five seconds. Do this 10 times on both feet.

All of these exercises are designed to work the small muscles in your toes and feet to strengthen them and improve your overall balance. All of these exercises help to roll your feet through their full range of motion, making them better prepared for any possible accidents at work. With stronger toes and feet and a better overall balance, you’ll be less prone to foot injuries.

Want more information on how to protect your feet, or the products we offer? Check us out at www.safgard.com   

What is a Shoemobile?

What is a Shoemobile?

What’s better than a store full of over 1,600 pairs of safety shoes? A store full of over 1,600 safety shoes….on wheels. You may have heard about our shoemobiles, or even seen one driving around or parked near your place of work before, but what really goes on inside these shoe stores on wheels? Here’s exactly what you can expect each time you visit one of our 46 shoemobiles.

Our shoemobiles truly are a safety shoe retail store on wheels.

Our shoemobiles are always stocked with a minimum of 1,600 pairs of safety shoes, so there’s plenty for you to choose from! When you first step foot into a Saf-Gard shoemobile, you’ll be greeted by one of our Mobile Store Managers, ready to fit you for your new pair of safety shoes. You’ll be asked about the environment that you work within and what kind of safety shoe you’re looking for specifically.

Decisions, decisions

After learning a little bit about you, our safety shoe expert will give you a few options that he or she feels will best fit your needs. You’ll be able to select the brand and color of your safety shoe, and then our Saf-Gard employee will size you and give you a pair to try on. It’s like your own personal shoe assistant, except it’s on wheels, so it’s a lot cooler.

If the Shoe Fits…

Once you have the shoes on, our expert will quickly work with you to ensure that the shoes fit your feet perfectly. No one wants to be sized incorrectly and end up with shoes that pinch or rub the wrong way, so we take great care in this step of the process. The last thing we want is for you to work an eight-hour shift the next day cursing us and our shoemobile by the end of it, so we make sure that the shoe is a perfect fit!

After you’ve found the perfect pair of safety shoes, all you need to do is sign and pay for them. Congratulations! You’re the proud owner of a brand new pair of safety shoes. You’ll be thanked by our Saf-Gard employee and then you’ll be on your way out the door. It’s as easy as that! So the next time you see one of our shoemobiles parked near you, make sure to stop by and check it out. Trust us, they’re awesome.

We are always ready and willing to help you come up with the best selection possible for your employees.

Want to learn more about our Shoemobiles? Click here.

Preparing for an OSHA Safety Inspection

OSHA inspections can arise at any time, and it’s crucial that you’re prepared for it in order to avoid any negative consequences to your company.

First, let’s take a look at what can prompt an OSHA inspection:

  • Workplace catastrophes and fatalities
  • Employee complaints
  • Referrals (can come from any corporation, including other government agencies)
  • Programmed inspections
    • Could be based on emphasis programs, injury rates, or previous citations
  • Random inspections
  • Follow-up inspections

Since most inspections aren’t announced beforehand, it’s important to have a plan in place before an OSHA inspector comes knocking.

Identify your Safety Manager and Back-up

First, an employee should be identified as a safety manager who walks the OSHA representative around while they are conducting their inspection. A “Plan B” person should also be assigned in case the safety manager is out on the day of the inspection. Always ask to see the representative’s identification to ensure that they are not an imposter before conducting the inspection.

Get your Information Straight

Before the inspection begins, you will be informed about the reasoning behind the inspection. The inspector will also ask for basic information about the facility, including the type of work performed, number of employees, names of those in charge, and contact information.

Duration and Preparation

The length of the inspection will vary depending on the focus and size of the facility. It could take anywhere from a day to multiple weeks. The inspector will likely ask for documents relevant to the inspection (e.g. injury and illness logs), and it is important to have these documents accurate and readily available at all times.

Safety Guidelines for Footwear

When it comes to protective footwear, general requirements state that “the employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses protective footwear when working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, or objects piercing the sole, and where such employee’s feet are exposed to electrical hazards.”

Saf-Gard is committed to providing your company with up-to-date safety shoes, ensuring that your employees are in compliance with all OSHA regulations. To learn more about OSHA regulations, just visit https://www.safgard.com/education/osha

Safety Tips for Any Industry

Warehouses, foundries, construction sites and factories can be some of the most dangerous places to work when it comes to accidents and injury. Think about it… large and moving machinery such as forklifts, carrying heavy loads such as pallets and heavy equipment can be hazardous for you and your workers, and we all know accidents can happen regardless of how careful we try to be.

Check out these safety tips and learn how to make your own work environments safer and more productive:

Want to download this infographic for your team? Click here for your free PDF download!

What to Look for in Construction Boots

So, you want to know what boots are going to save you on your next construction job site.

You’ve come to the right place.

Let’s start with the basics, the first thing you need to make sure of is that your new boots meet the following criteria. Ask yourself, are your boots:

  1. Are they relatively easy to put on?
  2. Are they comfortable to wear for extended periods of time?
  3. Will they keep you safe from whatever hazards await you at your workplace?

At Saf-GardTM, we also feel that it is important to note that it’s important to remember that as a tradesman, your feet are just as valuable as your hands. Therefore, your work boots need to be viewed as a personal safety investment, not an expense.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s jump in and hash out what you should be looking for in your next pair of construction work boots.

Safety Toes

We know, this one sounds like a no-brainer. But it can make the difference between getting home safe and having an impromptu trip to the ER… we’re pretty sure no one wants that. The main duty of a safety toe is to protect your foot from heavy objects that can fall on it while on a job such as metal poles, beams, and heavy tools.

Within the category of safety toe shoes, they are typically made out of steel, aluminum, or composite materials. You will more than likely be told what type of safety toe you need to have by your company or supervisor. If you haven’t been told, make sure to ask before you go shoppin

Durability

Let’s face it, this profession isn’t exactly forgiving when it comes to clothes and gear. In order to get the most bang for your buck, it’s important to do your research and find a pair of safety shoes that not only meets your employer’s standards but is durable and affordable as well. When you buy a cheap pair of work shoes, not only are you potentially hurting your feet due to cheap quality and lack of proper support but your wallet as well.

In the long run, it is more cost effective to invest in a decent pair of boots, as opposed to replacing cheap ones every few months.

When it comes to personal protection on the job site, you can never be too careful. Make sure you choose a pair of work boots that meet the necessary criteria for your career in the construction industry, in addition to staying alert and aware of your surroundings.

To learn more about the products we offer, check us out at www.safgard.com

Best Boots for Welders

Whether you are looking for a new pair or your first pair of welding boots, here are some things to consider before you make your next purchase:

It is important to keep in mind that as a tradesman, your feet are just as valuable as your hands. Therefore, your work boots need to be viewed as a personal safety investment, not an expense.

As with all safety boots, the first thing you want to make sure of is that your new boots are relatively easy to put on, comfortable to wear for extended periods of time and above all else, will keep you safe from whatever hazards await you at your workplace.

With those basics in mind, let’s jump in and discuss what specifics you should be looking for in your next pair of work boots.

Comfort and Safety are King

As we previously stated, you need to make sure that your boots are easy to get off and on, and that they are comfortable and safe. You’ll be getting intimate with these boots for at least eight hours a day, if not more. Many tradesmen can attest to the fact that there are few things worse than a pair of uncomfortable work boots that you are stuck wearing. So do yourself a favor, make sure they are comfortable!

Laces or Slip-On’s?

Well, for starters, it is obvious that laced boots and safety shoes will provide more support than a pull-on boot or shoe, due to the fact that you can adjust laces to create a more custom fit.

With that being said, laces also risk catching on fire from sparks landing on them. This particular threat can be lessened with a simple external metatarsal guard, which leads us to our next topic…

Metatarsal Guards for All!

The use of an external metatarsal guard on your safety boots will not only protect your laces from turning into tinder, but they also protect you from falling objects falling in the workplace.

Let’s face it, when it comes to personal protection on the job, you can never be too careful. So make sure you choose a pair of work boots that meet the necessary criteria for your welding career.

To learn more about the products we offer, check us out at www.safgard.com