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Safety footwear should provide adequate protection from injury and comfortable support for the feet.

Selection of footwear

Footwear should provide adequate protection from injury and comfortable support for the feet.

Occupational protective footwear is classified by the type of duties performed. The parameters include: grade of protective toecap, thickness and type of upper materials, and thickness and type of sole. Special features such as chemical resistant soles, penetration resistant mid soles and electrical conductive/antistatic properties are also available.

All risks associated with the job should be assessed to determine the specific requirements of the footwear.

  • Workshop, maintenance and people working in mechanical laboratories or on geological, agricultural or engineering field trips should wear suitable boots with steel caps
  • All people working in laboratories should wear enclosed footwear
  • People working in chemical laboratories should wear enclosed footwear that is resistant to spills of hazardous substances
  • People standing or walking for long periods should wear supportive, enclosed footwear

Fitting of footwear

When purchasing new footwear ensure:

  • feet are measured for the correct size
  • shoes are fitted while standing and towards the end of the day

Properly fitted footwear shouldn’t need to be ‘broken in’.

Shoes should have:

  • a firm heel counter and deep heel seat that holds the heel well and doesn’t slip when walking
  • sufficient depth and width at the toes to prevent pressure on toes and nails
  • a sole that does not bend at the ball of the foot. The shoe should not bend in the middle of the shoe under the arch.
  • firm, well padded synthetic or rubber sole with non-slip tread
  • soft upper with minimal stitching
  • laces
  • a heel less than 2.5 cm high
  • little distortion on attempting to twist the shoe
  • a shape that matches your feet

Socks manufactured from natural fibres, preferably free of seams should be worn with footwear at all times. Other items such as gaiters, or overshoes may be required for use with footwear.


Footwear should be kept clean and stored in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. No unauthorised alterations should be made to the footwear.

Australian safety guidelines

Footwear falls under the guidelines provided by the AS/NZ Standard 2210.1 Occupational protective footwear.

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