Safety Footwear - Standards Explained

Written By Supertouch
Safety Footwear - Standards Explained

Setting the Standard

Once the shoe has been appropriately matched to the environment, checking the relevant protection standards and overall fit for the wearer should be the next consideration. To ensure only the fittest footwear is selected, there are a variety of safety classifications and codes to consider during the specification process. BS EN ISO 20345:2011 is the current standard for safety footwear (used for general purpose) across Europe (EN) and sets out a series of tests for safety footwear which must be passed to claim protection against a specific hazards or risks. A code can then be generated using the below abbreviations to help end users identify the right footwear for their requirements. An example is given below:


This shows that this safety boot features a penetration resistant and cleated outsole, is insulated against cold and offers excellent slip resistance.  

Here are the most common abbreviations that are used to signify a boot or shoe is fit for purpose:

P Penetration Resistance WR Water Resistance
C Conductive M Metatarsal Protection
A Antistatic AN Ankle Protection
I Electricity Insulating Footwear CR Cut Resistant Upper
E Energy Absorption of Seat Region WRU Water Penetration and Water Absorption Uppper
HI Insulation Against Heat HRO Outsole Resistance to Hot Contact
CI Insulation Against Cold FO Fuel Oil Resistant Outsole

There are separate standards for non-slip safety boots and shoes:

SRA - Tested on ceramic title wetted with sodium lauryl sulphate (a diluted soap solution) SRB - Tested on steel with glycerol SRC - Tested under SRA and SRB conditions    

To gauge the level of protection, here is an overview of the safety boot and shoe ratings applicable to the UK:

SB - Safety Basic (Toe Protection) S1 - Safety Basic + Closed Seat Region + Antistatic + Energy Absorption of the Seat Region + Fuel Oil Resistance Outsoles S2 - Same as S1 + Water Resistance of the Upper S3 - Same as S2 + Penetration of the Outsole + Cleated Outsoles S4 - Safety Basic + Closed Seat Region + Antistatic Properties + Energy Absorption of the Seat Region + Fuel Oil Resistance S5 - Same as S4 + Penetration Resistance + Cleated Outsole

> Next Section - How To Maintain Safety Footwear

You can download this guide as a PDF here!