Did you know your choice in footwear could be the difference between life and death?
There are several different types of electrical footwear available, it’s important to know the differences when selecting your model(s).
For footwear to be categorised as S1,2,3, P1,2,3 or O1,2,3, the footwear must have antistatic properties. System, Insulative, Dissipative and Conductive capabilities are not a requirement of EN 20345, EN 20346 or EN 20347 but would in fact be an extra requirement.
Electrical Footwear can be broken down into five different sections
- Insulative Footwear – EN 50321 – Insulates (stops) electricity and comes in different classes for different voltages – Class 00 is the lowest class and will insulate up to 500 volts. This footwear is used often by electricians.
- Antistatic Footwear – This is a standard requirement for EN ISO 20345, EN ISO 20346, EN ISO 20347 (excluding the basic level) and lets electricity through but at a certain resistance level. It is designed to stop the general build up of electricity, and therefore puts a stop to those annoying (but often harmless) shocks. If you work in an area where there is a lot of static build up then these shoes are perfect for you.
- Dissipative Footwear – EN 61340-5-3 – Dissipates electrostatic charge between 0.1 mOhm and 100 mOhm which is ideal for when you are working with ESD’s (Electrostatic Sensitive Devices). Without this correct footwear, you may not even know of the potential risk it can cause (to the consumer more than the worker) as it prevents latent damage. If a worker is handling equipment such as a tablet or mobile phone in the manufacturing or pre-sale stage, and they let some of the charge into the electrical components, it will cause latent damage (may explode at a later date). This footwear is used more to protect the quality of electrical products.
- System Footwear – EN 61340-5-1 – For use in an EPA (Electrostatic Protected Area) where system flooring or equipment is being used, it dissipates charges between 0.1 mOhm and 35 mOhm) – This type of footwear is typically for use in an electrostatic protected area. It is very high quality and therefore used in areas with the strictest standards. Typically clean room level. This requirement is an extra when it comes to workplace footwear so make sure to ask. This level of footwear is also used when directly manufacturing or assembling any electrical components for a product.
- Conductive Footwear – is an extra requirement to the EN ISO 20345, EN ISO 20346, EN ISO 20347. Designed to create as easy a flow of electricity as possible, this operates for values below 0.1 mOhm (100 kOhm). It works for when things have the potential to become mega-charged, and will therefore let everything through. In essence it grounds the person wearing this footwear (see also FRAST clothing). Build up does not occur, so there is no risk for ignition. This footwear is used in highly flammable areas or where lots of reactive chemicals are in immediate proximity.
Use a reputable retailer such as us and make sure that you speak to one of our experts. Do not even risk a cheaper alternative where you cannot authenticate the quality of the product.
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