HSE Warns of Limitations in Boots Tested to American Standard for Electrical Work Safety

October 11, 2023
Contact us
Request a call back

The HSE has issued a bulletin relating to the testing of boots to the American Standard, ASTM F2412-18A.

The issue being that this Standard does not adequately ensure that boots are suitable for live electrical working because the standard does not test for:

  • Direct current (DC) voltages
  • Use in wet or damp environments (any footwear tested to this standard cannot be marketed as being waterproof, water resistant etc.)
  • Protection from electric shock if the outer sole has been penetrated by a sharp object (any footwear tested to this standard cannot be marketed as being resistant to penetration or perforation)
  • The upper (any part above the sole) of the product meaning that footwear tested to this standard may not be suitable for situations where there is a risk of direct ground contact, ‘earthing’ of the upper, such as: soft loose ground, ladders, steps, and gantries

HSE become aware of cases where personal protective equipment (PPE) that has been tested to this standard has not had these limitations made clear on the packaging or within the product instructions.

Any PPE that is claimed to be protective against electric shock should be regarded as a category III item as per Regulations on the design, manufacture and marketing of PPE. This means that there needs to be ongoing quality assurance of production control. Footwear should be labelled with a 4-digit number next to the UKCA/CE mark on the Declaration of Conformity identifying the body responsible for this.

Employers should ensure that they check for this information prior to providing employees with footwear for electrical work and ensure that only PPE that provides the necessary protection is provided.

If you have any questions or would like support with managing issues at your workplace, please speak to your usual contact or get in touch using the form below.