In the United States, all work environments are subject to regulation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is a division of the US Department of Labour. The responsibility of the OSHA is to ensure employee safety in the workplace, and the organization accomplishes this task by setting and enforcing a number of relevant standards.
These standards cover every aspect of the workplace, including Personal Protective Equipment or PPE. PPE is necessary when workers are liable to be subject to dangers that cannot be avoided by the employer. This article will look at protective footwear which falls under the PPE standards required by the OSHA.
The OSHA incorporates standards produced by an independent nonprofit organization called ASTM International, or simply ASTM. The OSHA used to include standards produced by the American National Standards Institute, or ANSI, but these were replaced by the ASTM for protective footwear standards in 2005.
The OSHA standards cover three important aspects of protective footwear:
Each workplace is different, so not all protective shoes are required to meet all of the standards. Instead, each employer must assess their workplace, decide what PPE is required, and supply it to their employees. The following is the list of all dangers covered by the OSHA ASTM standards:
An OSHA rated protective shoe will always bear a standard label. It may look something like this:
M I/75 C/75 Mt75
Here are the meanings behind each line of the label:
This line indicates that the shoe meets the performance requirements laid out in the indicated standard. In this case: ASTM F2413
M / F - Identifies the expected gender of the wearer (in this case, male).
I - Impact rating of the shoe - 50 of 75 pounds.
C - Compression rating - 75 or 50 correlates to 2,500 pounds or 1750 pounds respectively.
Mt - Metatarsal protection and rating (if present).
This line indicates any of the other relevant standards the shoe may be compliant with. In the example, the shoe is indicated as being Puncture Resistant (PR) and Static Dissipative (SD).
As not all dangers that employees may face are regulated by OSHA requirements, employers also need to consider additional protective properties, such as:
The OSHA requires that all PPE, including protective footwear, is tested at a nationally recognized testing laboratory or NTRL. These laboratories will ensure that the products meet all the necessary requirements by using standardized test procedures.
In order to ensure that your product is able to pass and will continue to pass those standards, you must test the quality of your products before they are sent to a NRTL.
You must also ensure that your product continues to meet the strict OSHA requirements by implementing strict quality control and inspection throughout the entire production process.
QIMA is able to provide full quality control and inspection services at every stage of your manufacturing and shipping process to guarantee your product remains OSHA compliant.
Get in contact with our team of specialists, and we can ensure that your PPE gets to market and stays there.
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