Contractor working on a building site

The importance of correct footwear for contractors

08 October 2018

As a tradesperson, your feet are more liable to injury than if you worked in a different industry, so making sure that you pick the proper footwear becomes more than having to make a choice purely based on style or comfort. Your working conditions will most likely mean that you will be vulnerable to a range of hazards, so picking the correct safety equipment is essential in protecting your feet.

The type of work you do will help decide on the type of footwear you should choose. When getting new footwear, you should consider the following:

  • What you do – Will your footwear be suitable for what your job requires?
  • Potential hazards – Will your footwear protect you from falling equipment or trips and slips?
  • Your working environment – Will you be based in an office or on a work site?

There are plenty of different styles of work boots that are fit for different purposes. Your day to day jobs will help you decide what you need:

  • High cut work boots – this style of boots will protect your ankles as well as your feet from hazards.
  • Steel toe capped – these have a reinforced section in the toe section of the boot. This will protect your toes from contact with heavy materials.
  • Steel soles – this style will protect against sharp items on the floor that would penetrate the sole of normal shoes. You can also get midsole protection which protects the foot but also has more flexibility.
  • Non-slip soles – usually have rubber soles to provide extra grip on slippery surfaces
  • Insulated boots – will offer protection from cold temperatures so will be particularly useful in autumn or winter seasons.
  • Metal-free footwear – the metal in boots can conduct electricity, so these boots will be particularly useful for electricians.
  • Waterproof – if you ever work outdoors during the wetter months, you may benefit from some waterproof boots. Not all boots are designed to be waterproof, and using wax or a spray may only protect against light splashes or spray.
  • Safety wellies – a safety wellington boot can provide good all-round protection with their steel toe caps, mid sole protection, waterproof material and their high cut style.

The safety of the footwear is paramount, however it doesn’t need to be at the cost of comfort. Consider these tips to make sure you buy the right size:

  • Have a short walk around to check the comfort.
  • Look for a space of around 1 to 2cm from the big toe to the edge of the shoe to get the correct size
  • Footwear should fit comfortably around the heel and ankle and the laces should not cause discomfort when tied.
Source: Zywave Inc. - Construction Playing it Safe: Choosing the right footwear

If your business has employees, it is a legal requirement to supply Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as safety boots and footwear at no cost to the worker. Despite your best efforts to provide suitable PPE, we all know workplace injuries can happen, which is why employers' liability cover is also required by law. If you’re working alone, you could also consider personal accident cover as part of your tradesman insurance policy.

Premierline specialise in arranging insurance for contractors. You can compare contractor insurance quotes online or if your needs are more complex, consider contractors all risks insurance

If you would like to review your insurance arrangements, call us today to speak to an insurance advisor. 

It is important to make sure that you have the right insurance in place to protect the business that you have built. Every business is different and has its own business insurance needs, which is why we work with some of the UK’s most well-known insurers to ensure that you are getting the right insurance cover for your business.
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