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2017SummerShotcreteEMag

| SAFETY SHOOTER Footwear By Andrea Scott Ask any shoe lover about shoes and you will often get a lengthy answer about their favorite pair, when they got them, how much they paid, and the name of the designer that made them. But while some can easily go on at great length about the variety of shoes in their collections, construction workers have different needs—color and style are not the most important concerns. Members of the shotcrete crew are on their feet all day. They need a great pair of well-fitting boots to wear daily that are comfortable, protective, and don’t make their back ache. To achieve this, care should be taken when selecting work boots. Purchase a pair that are comfortable and durable and satisfy the requirements of the job, OSHA, and the employer. For a work boot to be OSHA-approved, it must abide by ASTM and ANSI standards. Because foot-related injuries make up 25% of all disabling workplace injuries, well-fitting, well-made work boots are imperative for the safety of construction workers. OSHA requires 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, objects piercing the sole, or electrical hazards.” As part of the most basic safety equipment, a crew member’s personal protective equipment (PPE) should include quality footwear. With uneven terrain on the jobsite, as well as climbing up and down scaffolding, work boots make up the solid base required to provide traction and protect against a twisted ankle or fall. Athletic shoes are never an option. There are many brands of appropriate work boots available, and they all fit differently. Personal preference and needs will determine the best pair for each worker. Bear in mind that cost doesn’t always correlate to quality and durability. At a minimum, crew members need to have boots that provide plenty of ankle support for stability, arch support for comfort, and a nonskid sole to prevent slipping. The option of a steel toe or sole will be a matter of personal preference, but may be required by the employer. While on site, employees work in an environment with exposure to wet concrete, mud, and concrete dust; therefore, care must be taken to select boots that are best suited for the jobsite. They should be constructed of materials that will not degrade or easily become saturated. Boots that become saturated with cement-laden moisture create a highly alkaline environment in contact with the skin that can lead to cement burns. Wearing rubber boots over the leather work boots can be helpful, but will make moving around more difficult and can increase the tripping hazard. Pant cuffs should be taped over the boots or taped and tucked in, so that cement burns don’t occur where cement-laden materials fall into the top of the boot and expose the skin to high alkalinity. The start of cement burns is generally not felt immediately, so precautions must be taken BEFORE being exposed to concrete materials to prevent damage to the skin. Working in wet conditions such as rain or even just in high humidity can lead to cement burns if concrete dust settles on the skin. One of many hazards safety boots can protect you from Examples of burns from cement seeping into boots 66 Shotcrete | Summer 2017 www.shotcrete.org


2017SummerShotcreteEMag
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