Clean room safety requires a number of different safety implements and procedures. In addition to protecting employee’s hands and faces, many companies also have a need to provide protection for employee’s feet as they work with sensitive electronics. To this end, many organizations purchase ESD safety shoes for their employees in order to add an additional layer of electrostatic discharge protection to their work environments.
Standards For ESD Safety Shoes
As specified in ISO 20345, the standards dictating the design and construction of ESD shoes are extremely detailed. A few basic requirements include:
- A toe cap that must be able to resist impacts of up to 200 Joules
- A closed heel area
- Resistance to common fuel oils
- Basic static resistance
It should be noted that many companies use ESD safety shoes in conjunction with ESD floor mats. Although antistatic shoes and mats provide adequate static discharge protection on their own, the use of the two in conjunction is much more effective at ensuring that the work area is protected from static electricity. Anti-static and ESD-safe shoes are also an integral part of implementing a successful ESD control plan.
Picking the Right ESD Safety Shoes
The right ESD safety shoes can make all the difference when it comes to safety and comfort for your employees.When picking the right shoes, consider:
- Material - What material works best for your ESD shoes will depend on the environment where employees will be working. One option is a synthetic, breathable leather that provides adequate ESD protection while keeping the feet cool and comfortable. Employees can also opt for “genuine” leather if durability is a concern. .
- ESD Capability - Some manufacturers sell generic “safety” shoes that aren’t necessarily capable of dissipating static electricity. Look for shoes that mention “SD” or “ESD” in their product name in order to ensure that they are appropriate for electrically sensitive environments.
- Style - ESD shoes come in many different forms, including clogs, sneakers, and formal styles. Most manufacturing employees tend to go with comfort-focused shoes like clogs and sneakers; however, certain members of management may need a pair of ESD shoes that can seamlessly blend with formal business attire.
- Fit - Perhaps the most important factor in selecting ESD shoes, fit is ultimately what will determine the comfort and utility of the shoes. Well-sized footwear helps employees stay comfortable throughout the work day, leading to increased productivity and decreased downtime.
ESD safety shoes are an essential part of clean room safety equipment, in addition to ESD floor mats, work mats, grounding cords, bench matting, and conductive waste bins. With proper ESD safety equipment, you can look forward to increased productivity, reduced manufacturing costs, and an overall rise in product quality.