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Safety Industry Classifications

All footwear (with the exception of non-safety footwear, which is explicitly stated) is classified to European Standards which is abbreviated to ‘EN’ and International Standards which is the abbreviated to ‘ISO’. The two abbreviations prefix the numeric code and year signifying which legal safety clause the footwear is compliant with; for instance: ‘EN ISO 20345:2011’.


EN ISO 20345:2011

This is the most common safety standard, which is known for its provision of a protective toe-cap as a basic requirement. There are many other safety features included under this EN ISO standard, which makes it sufficient for all industries.  


EN ISO 20347:2012

This EN ISO safety standard differs from its 2011 counterpart because it does not offer a 200 Joules protective toe-cap. Instead, safety boots under this category are suitable for less dangerous lines of work, such as posting parcels. 


ASTM F2892-11 EH 

This standard exists for non-safety boots that are examined by a third-party organisation. These typically meet requirements for protecting you against electrical hazards (EH), or static dissipation (SD).

Safety Rating Definitions

EN ISO SB Safety Standard

SB Safety Standard 

  • 200 Joules protective toe cap (this can be either steel or composite).

  • SB rated shoes can carry other safety features, too; for example, you can have an SB P HRO SRC boot, which -- in linear order -- offers a protective toe cap (SB), anti-penetration mid-sole (P), heat-resistant sole (HRO), and slip-resistant sole (SRC).

EN ISO S1 Safety Standard

S1 Safety Standard

  • 200 Joules protective toe cap. 

  • Closed seat region.

  • Anti-static properties. 

  • Energy absorbing heel (typically 20 Joules).

EN ISO S1P Safety Standard

S1P Safety Standard

  • 200 Joules protective toe cap. 

  • Closed seat region.

  • Anti-static properties. 

  • Energy absorbing heel (typically 20 Joules).

  • + Anti-penetration mid-sole.

 

EN ISO S2 Safety Standard

S2 Safety Standard

  • 200 Joules protective toe cap.

  • Closed seat region.

  • Anti-static properties. 

  • Energy absorbing heel (typically 20 Joules).

  • + Water-resistant upper.

EN ISO S3 Safety Standard

 S3 Safety Standard

  • 200 Joules protective toe cap. 

  • Closed seat region.

  • Anti-static properties. 

  • Energy absorbing heel (typically 20 Joules).

  • Water-resistant upper.

  • + Anti-penetration mid-sole.

  • + Cleated sole.

 

EN ISO S4 Safety Standard

S4 Safety Standard

  • 200 Joules protective toe cap. 

  • Closed seat region.

  • Anti-static properties. 

  • Heel energy absorption (typically 20 Joules).

  • Fully water-resistant.

  • + These are wellington boots that have a polymer or rubber moulded construction, making them water- & leak-proof.

 

EN ISO S5 Safety Standard

S5 Safety Standard

  • 200 Joules protective toe cap. 

  • Closed seat region.

  • Anti-static properties. 

  • Energy absorbing heel (typically 20 Joules).

  • Fully water-resistant.

  • + These are wellington boots that have a polymer or rubber moulded construction, making them water- & leak-proof.
  • + Sole penetration resistance.

  • + Cleated sole.

 

Safety Feature Definitions

EN ISO Anti-Penetration Mid-Sole

Anti-Penetration

P: Products with mid-soles that are resistant against contact with sharp objects. 

EN ISO Anti-Static Sole

Anti-Static Penetration

A: Anti-static penetration. 

EN ISO Energy Absorbent Heel

Energy Absorbent Heel

E: Heel energy-absorption (typically 20 Joules).

EN ISO Fuel/Oil Resistant Sole

Fuel/Oil Resistant

FO: A sole that is fuel/oil resistant.

EN ISO Heat Resistant Sole

Heat Resistant

HRO: Products with soles that have proven resistant to at least 300 degrees-celsius contact for 60 seconds.

EN ISO Slip Resistant Sole

Slip Resistant

SR: Products with mid-soles that are resistant against contact with sharp objects.Products that are slip-resistant to varying degrees. Most commonly, safety boots come with an SRC rating, which refers to boots that are both tested on a ceramic tile wetted with dilute solution (SRA), as well as a smooth steel surface covered with glycerol (SRB). Safety footwear can also come with just an SRA, or SRB rating.

SRA: (to be worn in environments with low slip-risk): 

  • Products that are tested on a ceramic tile that is wetted with dilute soap solution

SRB: (to be worn in environments with low slip-risk):

  • Products that are tested on smooth steel and glycerol.

SRC: (your best chance of avoiding slippage): 

  • Any product that has passed both SRA & SRB slip tests.

EN ISO Waterproof

 Waterproof

Waterproof (no EN ISO abbreviation): Products marked as 'waterproof' will have a waterproof membrane inside the shoe, which is your final layer of protection against water penetration. 

EN ISO Water Resistant

Water Resistant

WR: A water resistant boot where the whole article has been submerged in water for 80 minutes without any significant water penetration.

EN ISO Water Resistant Upper

Water Resistant Upper

WRU: Water penetration and absorption resistant boot where the upper has been submerged in water for 60 minutes with no significant water penetration. 

Safety Features In More Detail

Steel Toe Cap

The footwear will be tested to and will be able to withstand an impact of 200 Joules. It will also mean the toe cap will withstand a resting mass of over 1000kg. Composite toe caps which are metal-free will also withstand the same weight, energy, and mass, but will be much lighter.


Anti-Penetration Mid-sole

Protects the base of feet from sharp objects and nails from piercing through the footwear. Usually a steel or composite shank will be placed within the mid-sole of the footwear. No meet the standards, the protection will have to resist a penetration force of up to 1100N.


Heat Resistant Sole 

To be classed as HRO, the footwear will have a heat resistant sole of up to 300°C for 60 seconds. Other footwear featuring a heat resistant sole to anything under than 300°C will not be specified as HRO but will state some level of heat resistance.


Water Resistant Upper

Footwear will be water resistant and will block out water to some extent but will let some water seep through after lengthy periods of time in deep water.


Water Resistant

A water-resistant boot where the whole article is submerged in water for 80 minutes without any significant water penetration.


Waterproof

A boot with a waterproof membrane, to give you the absolute best chance of keeping your feet dry. A waterproof boot will naturally encompass water resistance (WR), too.


Oil Resistant 

Footwear will be resistant to fuel oils and have grip on various surfaces.


Anti-Static 

Electrical resistance between 0.1 and 1000 MegaOhm (MΩ) and will sufficiently protect against electric shocks, currents and live circuits.


Non Marking Sole 

The soles will not leave black marks or streaks which usually appear when walking on smooth surfaces. 


Goodyear Welted Sole  

The upper of the shoe is welted to the sole and insole of the shoe in order for it to be more secure and longer lasting. This can be repeated if necessary therefore making the shoes last for even longer.


Safety Eyewear

Safety eyewear will comply to European Standards: EN 166 and will be classed by Class 1, 2 or 3; a safety Class of 1 provides the best protection. 

Disclaimer

All information provided here is advisory only. Please clarify with safety specialists or your employer that any footwear bought from ourselves is appropriate for your working environments and meets your requirements.  


When buying safety footwear and accessories, it is imperative that you choose the correct products with the most accurate and appropriate safety features needed and required for your line of work and industry. Although some industry requirements overlap on what is necessary in terms of safety ratings and other safety features, the slight differentiation is vital to take into account, as the consequences of incorrect features can be a matter of life or death. Please buy at your own risk.

 

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