International Standards
DIN EN ISO 20344 to DIN EN ISO 20347

DIN EN ISO 20344 Personal safety equipment – Test procedures for shoes
DIN EN ISO 20345 Personal safety equipment – Safety shoes
DIN EN ISO 20346 Personal safety equipment – Protective shoes
DIN EN ISO 20347 Personal safety equipment – Professional shoes

More safety for the feet

Especially feet and ankles are endangered parts of the body at many working places. According to statistics of the professional association the feet are the most affected parts coming to a share of about 20 % of the working accidents. In comparison to hands these injuries are of a more serious nature, too. Wearing foot protection helps to prevent foot injuries or at least to reduce their seriousness.

When speaking about foot protection it means footwear with special protective parts, e. g. ankle protection, an intersole against penetration or toe protection caps. The foot protection is divided into three categories which differ from each other by their potential protection effect. This is measured by endurance tests where the toe protection is a special feature.

In case of safety footwear the toe caps are tested with a test energy of 200 J. In case of protective shoes the toe caps are tested with a test energy of 100 J. Professional shoes are shoes which do not have to have toe caps but they possess other protective features.

Within the single categories there are shoes which meet special requirements, e.g. regarding conductivity or antistatics. These features are marked with symbols. The manufacturer has to label them in order to help the companies to find out the optimal personal safety equipment for their employees. A “S3” is for example a safety shoe which is used on building sites. In addition, it is safe against penetration due to an inserted steel intersole and it meets the requirements regarding antistatics and water resistance.

In October 2004, a new series of international standards was published replacing the European standards having existed since 1996 respectively 1997. Shoes fulfilling the new standards offer even more safety. The requirements for insoles have been increased and the minimal thickness of running soles has been determined. Shoes meant for water resistance have to pass a mechanical test of 15 minutes in water without moisture reaching the feet. Intersoles against penetration or toe caps not being made out of metal should meet the same safety requirements like steel intersoles or steel caps. Toxicologically relevant chrome (VI) may not be detectable nor in the upper, lining, tongue or insole. Furthermore, the shoes have to fulfill ergonomic minimum criteria.

Source: German Institute for Standardization, 2005