Working in manufacturing or construction, we are required to wear PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). But do we really know why it’s so important to wear the right PPE and what all those labels and acronyms on our products mean? At Xena, we’re not only fashionistas but also safety geeks, so we decided to create a blog series answering some of the most common questions we see about safety regulations.
PPE is equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that can cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses. Think items like safety shoes, gloves, glasses, earplugs, hard hats, respirators, vests, and full bodysuits.
In the world of safety, most people are probably familiar with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The interesting thing is that while OSHA dictates the use of PPE, they look to a different organization to set performance requirements. That is where ASTM International (formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials) comes into the picture because they are the ones that certify safety shoes in the US. At Xena, we send all of our newly developed shoes to a certified lab for thorough testing and ASTM certification.
What’s the difference between SD and EH?
ASTM International has quite a few different standards and regulations but two of the most common and easily confused ones are Electrical Hazard (EH) and Static Dissipative (SD or ESD).
EH protective footwear:
is designed to reduce the hazard of accidental electrocution. So if you step on a live wire, an EH-certified shoe should protect you long enough for you to remove yourself from the dangerous contact.
The outer surface of the shoe’s sole and heel must be deemed impenetrable by any electrically conductive component. EH shoes are tested to withstand the application of 18,000 volts under dry conditions. The forthcoming Omega ankle boot will meet this standard and would be ideal for an industrial or construction environment where the dangers of electrical shocks may be high.
SD protective footwear:
focuses on drawing static charge away from the body to the ground. Basically, when we walk around, our bodies generate a static charge, which can be especially annoying around door handles (we thought of Office Space, of course).
Facilities with SD requirements have a test station which employees have to pass wearing their SD shoes before entering the protected area
As mentioned above, Electro Static Dissipative shoes reduce excess static electricity by conducting the charge from your body to the ground while simultaneously maintaining a sufficiently high level of resistance. This is most useful for people who handle sensitive electrical equipment like microchips or anyone working around highly flammable or explosive materials.
Our Gravity+ SD boot, coming out in October, has gone through the necessary laboratory testing to be SD certified and we couldn’t be more excited! It gets a huge thumbs up from me, but an official ASTM certification will carry some weight too
Ana Kraft, CEO of Xena conducting a preliminary test of first Gravity + SD prototype
Creating a new category of workwear for women
While both EH and SD rated boots will protect your feet from impact and compression and other hazards, you have to make sure that you wear the proper PPE for your specific work environment. We believe that all professional women should be able to stay safe while feeling comfortable and confident at work. Our new Gravity+ SD and Omega EH ASTM certified boots will empower women in demanding fields to do just that!
Xena Gravity+ SD Boot offered in Black and Cognac