Walk Safe, Walk Clean
You remember your mom telling you to wear your galoshes when it rained, and take them off before you came inside. Mom’s principles hold true in the workplace as well. As the name implies, shoe covers are personal protective equipment designed to be put on over regular work boots or shoes to keep hazardous substances from contaminating a worker or the work site. Made from a variety of materials such as rubber or Tyvek, shoe covers are disposable to prevent the spread of hazardous materials, dirt, grime, grease oil, beyond the contaminated area in a work site.
If you are having questions of disposable shoe covers , this Disposable Shoe Covers Questions & Answers post is full of tricks, tips and troubleshooting advice.
1. What Is the Most Important Consideration with Shoe Covers?
The most important consideration when deciding on shoe covers depends on the workplace environment you inhabit. As with most personal protective equipment (PPE), the type of item you use is first based on the potential hazard(s) you face during the work day.
If you are in the construction industry, your primary concern is usually the danger posed by either impact or compression of your feet and toes. Heavy building materials and motorized construction equipment can pose serious threats to your body, including your feet. You want either footwear or boot covers that include steel or other hard shell toe protection along with sturdy safeguards for your feet and ankles. Avoiding accident or injury through care and diligence is most important. But, situations will occur when proper safety shoe covers will protect you against direct compression threats.
Should you work in a medical, laboratory, clean room, chemical, or emergency response environment, the hazards you face are more diverse and complicated. Most often you will use disposable shoe covers which are gathered from a shoe cover dispenser on site. The two important considerations for you: What specific hazards do you face? What level of non-slip bottom protection do you need?
If you face liquid biohazards or other toxic substances, you want different safety shoe covers than if you face dry particulate threats. If the floor of your workplace is often covered with water or other non-toxic liquid, you’ll need better non-skid protection using ribbed rubber or a similar design for the soles of your shoe or boot covers.
Therefore, know precisely what hazards you face. Then, make sure you use the best shoe covers that meet or exceed ANSI and OSHA standards for protection. When you are protected and comfortable, your workday will be much more pleasant and productive.
2. When Are Shoe Covers Recommended?
Shoe covers are recommended for a variety of work, sports, and medical situations. The type of safety shoe covers depends on the purpose and environment you are in. The key is to know what you need protection from and take the appropriate action to defend against the threat. Protective shoe covers are but one component in the personal protective equipment (PPE) universe.
If you work in a medical environment (hospital, laboratory, surgical facility, etc.), shoe covers are often required to protect you, your patients, your surroundings, and objects you may touch or that are in proximity. Using disposable or reusable (in some circumstances) shoe protection, medical personnel can protect themselves against spatters, liquid, and chemicals that may pose a danger. Also, using shoe or boot covers protects other people from receiving contaminants from you. Everyone wins.
Should you be involved in an industry that requires “clean” manufacturing conditions, as with computer chips and components, digital medical equipment, precise engineering instruments, etc., the danger becomes the contaminants you might transfer to sensitive objects. Clean rooms must remain as germ and contaminant free as surgical environments and safety shoe covers are an important component.
Industrial laboratories are often another environment that dictate the use of shoe covers. Often using potentially dangerous chemicals and other substances, protective shoe covers, sometimes waterproof, chemically resistant, dry particle protective, or toxic substance rejecters, are important. Made of appropriate materials that protect against the threats you face, they can safeguard against these hazards at low cost.
Certain sports activities are perfect for the use of shoe covers, particularly cycling. While your arms, back, and legs are stressed during high level cycling, nothing takes a worse pounding or abuse than your feet. Companies like Assos shoe covers offer a full line of covers and booties to protect your shoes from “road abuse” from rocks, mud, etc. and other hazards.
3. What Are the Benefits of Rubber Shoe Covers?
Rubber shoe covers provide you with two wonderful benefits that many others do not. First, they are almost totally waterproof. This is not in the revelation category. Even all baby boomers remember wearing rubber shoe covers or boots while walking to school – of course, it was always 2 miles, uphill both ways, and snowing or raining every day – and protecting their shoes from water. Natural rubber still protects the wearer from all types of liquids, particularly water.
Another, sometimes more significant benefit of rubber shoe covers is its refusal to conduct electricity. In situations that involve the possibility of active electrical current becoming a threat to you, rubber shoe covers are the best defense. Modern designs are lightweight, not heavy baby boomer models, and comfortable, even if worn for an entire workday. Whether in a wet environment, where the introduction of electrical current can quickly become deadly, or in dry conditions, wherein electricity can range from an annoyance to a life threatening situation, rubber safety shoe covers provide excellent protection.
4. Who uses shoe covers?
Wherever you go these days, it seems like all o’ God’s children use shoe covers. There seems to be shoe covers for every hazardous or dirty, muddy, oily, greasy, grimy, smelly environment. Shoe covers are made from a wide variety of materials including cloth, rubber, polyethylene, polypropylene, and Tyvek. Shoe covers are not just practical, you can also find shoe covers imprinted with colorful designs (for people who want to have happy feet.) The shoe cover you select will depend what kind of unpleasantness your workers are likely to step in.
5. What types of shoe covers do I have to choose from?
Whether you’re protecting your shoes from dust and debris or protecting the floors from the dirt from the soles of the shoes, shoe covers make a convenient, cost effective solution for eliminating the mess. Shoe covers come available in versions that just cover shoes and as boot covers. You can select from shoe covers with a standard surface or an anti-skid surface. Polypropylene shoe covers are the most economical material and can work well in dry environments on carpet or tile. For extra durability, look for a Tyvek shoe cover which can also hold up against minor exposure to moisture. If you’re looking for a durable shoe cover that can hold up to water splashes and moisture, the Sunsoft shoe covers provide durability and adaptability to water exposure. When you really need to protect footwear from harsh areas and dirt, use plastic shoe covers in a 4 mil to 6 mil thickness.