When we go grocery shopping, we pay particular attention to expiry dates. We even tend to check our kitchen and pantries occasionally to ensure that our supplies don’t go to waste. This applies to many other personal, household and work supplies. Yet, not many people have ever thought to ask the question “does a safety shoe expire?”
A common misconception people hold is that safety shoes are durable beacuse of its ability to withstand impacts and as a result, they don’t expire. In fact, several old artisans boast of their “rugged boots” that last a lifetime!
The truth, however, is that safety shoes expire! Irrespective of how solid or good looking a safety shoe is, it’s important that you know when to give it the boot. For this reason, we have written on everything you need to know about safety shoes expiration. Read along!
Are Expired Safety Shoes Dangerous?
It is not uncommon to see workers continue to wear their expired or extremely worn out safety shoes. One may get a perfect pair of safety boots and several years down the line, they still seem alright so the thought of disposing them seems outrageous.
Manufactures design safety shoes to protect the foot but expired boots are dangerous to the wearer. They may lead to foot injuries, increased danger of slips and falls, back pain, reduced productivity, and even death.
Wearing bad or expired safety shoes is as good as leaving the feet exposed.
How to Tell When Your Safety Shoes Expire
There are several ways one can tell an expired safety shoe. These include:
Tell-tale signs on the safety shoes
An expiry date refers to a set date after which a product ceases to be fit for use or consumption. Safety shoes typically have expiry dates set for about 6 to 12 months from their manufacturing date.
Tell-Tale Signs of Expired Safety Shoes
Asides expiration dates, there are signs safety shoes exhibit that can as well mean a cry for change. These include:
Worn out soles
1. Worn-Out Soles
This is one glaring indication that denotes a deteriorated safety boot. Worn-out outsoles signify that a safety boot has lost its impact resistance or shock absorbing properties. Such shoes are also dangerous because they have a reduced ability to protect the feet from sharp objects. Furthermore, there is a marked decrease in the shoes’ grip and skid resistance.
2. Poor Insulation
When you begin to notice that your safety shoes have lost its insulation properties,
3. Chemical Attack
Some safety shoes, especially those made with rubber materials, are susceptible to chemical attacks. These attacks could lead to discolorations, cracks and other forms of degradation.
4. Lack of Comfort
Comfort is a major factor you must consider when acquiring safety shoes. Once this begins to wane, it is most likely time to get a new pair.
Osha Approach to Expiration of Safety Shoes
In 1994, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a revision on its personnel-protective equipment regulations 29 CFR 1910.136. It stipulated the standard of foot protection and efficient care of safety shoes.
Safety shoes have toes that are built to resist an impact of 75 ft-lbs. This property reduces with increased impact but may go unnoticed since the toe is usually covered. This is done only at the discretion of the safety personnel or that of the contractor, employee or issuer. OSHA recommends the use of X-rays in determining when to change your safety boot.
Additionally, some professionals suggest that you should change your safety shoes after severe impact to the toe.
Does Storage Affect the Expiration of Safety Boots?
Storage can affect some components of safety shoes. A good example is the Thermo Polyurethane. Manufacturers use this component in making the outsole of some safety shoes. Overtime, this polymer undergoes hydrolysis, which is the chemical breakdown of polymer compounds.
Safety shoes expire! You may see the signs or not but it is important that you cease to wear expired safety shoes. Get rid of overused boots irrespective of expiration dates.
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