Monday, November 25, 2013

Slipp-R - the safety overshoe that works.

We had the "boys from the black top" in this week to resurface the driveway to the warehouse. 

Picture #1 shows how the boys work on the 175 degree centigrade (350 degrees fahrenheit) HOT asphalt. They walk with their boots jammed between two blocks of wood on a piece of plywood!

Our Slipp-R safety overshoe has been tested by Intertek Testing in the USA to withstand these elevated levels of temperature. Intertek used their Firemans' Standard, not just for the heat resistance but also for the tear and cut resistance. 

So, I decided to jump on the HOT tar and take the Slipp-R through its paces. (That's me in the middle of the two lads. The boys were a bit concerned but, as you can see in picture #2, things worked out really well. I stayed on the HOT tar for as long as the job took and felt no discomfort or danger. The crew was mighty impressed.

Picture #3 shows how well the Slipp-R performed. There was no damage to the rubber material and very little stuck to the soles.

This little experiment reminds me of the time I put my foot under a fork lift truck. Picture #4.

Slipp-R - the safety overshoe that works, in so many places.


 


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Safety overshoes are not all equal.



When the safetytoe was first conceived – a steel toecap inserted into a rubber galosh – some in the safety world considered it unworthy. However, although referred to as an “ugly duckling”, it had a practical purpose. It was its practicality that allowed it to survive, even in the face of some fierce institutional opposition. The safetytoe was a very cost-effective alternative to full safety footwear where only toe protection was required. The steel toecap was the same as those used in safety boots and shoes. It met and exceeded the minimum toe protection in every world Standard for safety footwear. It had the added advantage of being transferable among wearers with no fear of sanitary or health issues. It was the ideal solution for many situations where only ‘toe protection required’ was the rule.

In those days, the applications for safetytoes were in the shoes-for-visitors market. Nobody ever liked stepping into another person’s shoes, even for safety reasons, and certainly never if the visitors were VIPs. Completely covering-up a visitor’s outer shoes was an added advantage – a boon for the food manufacturing industry. Not governed by the rules and regulations of the workplace, the safetytoe for visitors enjoyed market acceptance, virally, and by word-of-mouth advertising.

The galosh used in the first safetytoes was a legacy product from the consumer market. These galoshes were sold as protection for shoes against the rain, snow and mud. At the time, there may only have been two manufacturers of galoshes left in North America, and their molds were nearing their end-of-life. Unfortunately, the early financially-rewarding success, and the high cost of new molds, conspired to keep the safetytoe as an ugly duckling for some time.

“It is harder to attain success in Europe. There is hardly the same appreciation of progress (that) there is here. Appreciation is an element of success.” Alexander Graham Bell.

At first, the resistance of the Regulators and the Standards Bodies caused hesitation in the minds of employers who were potential buyers. With good reason in our litigious society, employers are conditioned to seek the kind of third party endorsements provided by the institutions. Fortunately, in North America, employers soon realized that safetytoes are acceptable in many jurisdictions (the USA being the largest) if testing can prove that they provide the same toe protection as gained from wearing full safety footwear. Equivalency laws first allowed the safetytoe to dip its toes into the workplace.

The response to this was typical of entrepreneurs who sit back on their laurels rather than advancing the cause. Cheap cast-offs from old galosh manufacturers, substantial profits from the non-workplace sectors and untested limiting beliefs all seemed to make time stand still for a product whose time had come.

“It is the man who carefully advances step by step, with his mind becoming wider and wider … who is bound to succeed in the greatest degree.” Alexander Graham Bell.

Surprisingly, Europe was first to fully recognize the potential of the safetytoe. It was a distributor in Ireland who persevered and obtained the first CE Mark for safety overshoes in the workplace. Without it, rubber Safetytoes would have had difficulty penetrating the shoes-for-visitors market, never mind the workplace market. The CE Mark is essential to doing business in Europe. The same laws of Equivalency that gave hope in North America do not exist there. A Standard had to be created.

In doing so, criteria other than mere minimums for toe protection from Impact and Compression were incorporated. The EC Directive 89/686/EEC Annex 11 considered Slip Resistance, Abrasion Resistance, Flexing Resistance, and Resistance to Fuel. Further testing was also instituted that considered the thickness of sole, tear strength, elasticity and extension at break. The Directive (Standard) considered ergonomics. Tests were done to prove there were no design or production features that rendered the product unsafe and regulators asked if the safetytoe could be used when walking, climbing stairs, crouching or kneeling? The fact that the product afforded adequate toe protection was only a starting point for the Europeans.

Today, while the first entrants to the safetytoe business are still chasing profits by cheapening the galoshes, others have sought to make significant safety improvements. The ‘Slipp-R’ safetytoe is packed with extra safety features not found in any other overshoe. Tests now prove that the ‘Slipp-R’ rubber safety overshoe can provide electric shock protection up to at least 14,000 volts and its rubber material can provide both hot and cold thermal insulation. These attributes previously only existed in full safety footwear.

In these challenging economic times such improvements are set to dispel the ugly duckling image of the early gimmicks and establish the safety overshoe as a cost-effective alternative to full safety footwear where only toe protection is required. The ‘Slipp-R’ is earning its reputation as “the safety overshoe that works”.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Improved Safety and Reduced Pain for Diabetics With the Slipp-r Safetytoe Overshoe .

People who suffer with diabetes have well documented complaints about their footwear. Often there is discomfort and pain associated with the disease and steel toecaps in safety work wear are almost impossible to bear. In fact, there are stories about that tell of amputations of toes due to the effects of unsuitable safety footwear. This of course is catastrophic for both employee and employer. For example, the employee has to deal with loss of income and the employer a slew of statutory requirements. Given that our societies are trending to obesity as populations age, the matter of adequate toe protection is of growing concern.

At Safetytoes International Inc., we have been aware of this for some time. Since 1999 when we first sold safetytoe overshoes with steel toecaps we have encountered many diabetes sufferers and heard their tales of woe. In part, this prompted our desire to make our ‘Slipp-R’ safetytoe overshoe a household item as well as an industrial product. Diabetes sufferers have a compelling need for toe protection, so steel toecaps are inviting. However, the steel toecap can be cold-conductive, restrict the flow of blood and give rise to cramp. Not the kind of conditions that facilitate a long, safe and satisfying day at work or home.

The ‘Slipp-R’ is a rubber-based steel toecap safetytoe overshoe that is quite unique in what is often referred to as the visitors’ overshoe market. The rubber material is sturdy and robust, designed to resist wear, tear and nicks in most industrial settings. This allows the ‘Slipp-R’ to deal with cuts and abrasion that can cut short the useful life of a safetytoe overshoe. At around 6mm thick, the slip-resistant overshoe provides for a snug fit and the unique all-flat sole can accommodate most heel types, including the sneaker-type outer shoes favoured by those who have diabetes. The ‘Slipp-R’ will not crack, stiffen or harden, even in cold conditions. Its unique design has a rear pull-on tab that combines with a wider shank allowing for greater ease of ‘pull-on’ and ‘pull-off’.

The ‘Slipp-R’ safetytoe overshoe has been embraced by many who have diabetes. The steel toecap is completely enclosed in rubber and has a very stylish appearance. Over any black or brown outer shoe the slip-on overshoe is virtually invisible. This is a major benefit in the visitors’ overshoe market where other toe protection products appear comical and not conducive to wearing, even when toe protection is called for.

The ‘Slipp-R’ is lightweight due to the chemical composition of the rubber material making wearing these innovative products tireless. This is not always the case with safety boots or shoes that can have significant weight. ‘Slipp-R’s are transferable between workers or family members and they are in use where contamination brought in by outer shoes is an issue. Not only will the ‘Slipp-R’ provide toe protection, slip, animal fat, oil and acid resistance, it encases the outer shoe and traps gunk until the overshoe is removed.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

‘Gypt in a land of wonder.



Small boys riding Arabian dancing horses, competing with small boys riding motorcycles. Grown men driving cars with no headlights at breakneck speed in the same poorly lit street. There's barely enough room for pedestrians and even they are very erratic, to say the least. In the midst of it all, a wedding cavalcade of mini-vans escorted by a traveling disco sound system. The police are very noticeable by their absence. The situation is unsafe and it all happens so frequently. It is dangerous, annoying and it is deafening. This is Luxor, one of the major tourist destinations on earth. It's also the festival of Eid. But, this is also Egypt after the authorities lost control. It isn't a pleasant experience but it's what independent travelers have to endure if Egyptology is on their minds. And, after visiting the ruins of one of the world's early civilizations, it has become a wonderful mystery as to why it's all so un-inviting.

The chaos, cacophony and crap on the streets appear as sure signs nothing good lies in the near future for the people who speak so proudly of their recent "revolution". It's as if this is their only period of "freedom" since the pyramids were built 5,000 years ago. And, they're going nuts with it. For example, it would be very difficult for foreigners to drive a car in Egypt. Car rental companies have vacated the country. I noticed a lot of missing headlights. I noticed very few traffic lights. The most were near the stretch of highway that connects the airport to downtown Cairo. In this city of 18 million it can be anywhere from 30 minutes to never when estimating how long it might take to do that trip. I've never experienced traffic congestion such as I lived with during my 5 days in Cairo.

I travelled by road from Abu Simbel to Aswan to Luxor. I'm sure that road operations were much smoother when the police were on duty. The linear urban strip all along the Nile lends itself to modern traffic control techniques but instead it can be pure pandemonium at times, often times. There's evidence of a police presence but I got the sense it was only interested in controlling the locals. Now, where the main Cairo road runs parallel with the Nile, traffic calming has sprung up in the form of crude bumps on the road. Using bricks, debris and concrete, speed bumps have been constructed at every school, market or intersection. Many have crumbled under the constant strain turning them into speed bumps to be avoided, rendering them more like gates through which both north and south bound vehicles must pass single file. In the absence of more sophisticated methods, these crude barriers to speed are taking a huge toll on travel time
.    
The police are in their barracks, stationed only immediately outside. Government is frozen. So too are the wages many had come to rely on. Before the revolution most Egyptians had a daily government placement for at least 4 hours of paid labour. That's all gone now. For many it wasn't a tough job but it was where everybody got their share of the net worth of the Country, their institutionalised baksheesh, as it were. As far as I know, after a very short visit, while Egypt is not as resource-rich as Libya or Saudi, it does have significant wealth opportunities. The generosity of the waters of the Nile as it flows through the Egyptian desert is wonderful to see. Farm produce, hydro electricity, some oil, gas and significant infrastructure investments are all examples of the Country's gross domestic value. However, there's a saying in the arab world, "as poor as an Egyptian", and that is so very true.

The balance of an Egyptian's livelihood is supposed to come from income earned as licensed independent operators within their own communities. They work as taxi, horse and camel drivers Many are hotel, restaurant and perfume shop salespeople. The souks too are large employers. They’re all volume based tourist dependant occupations.


These days, it's very evident nobody's buying. I was told, tourism didn't slow down after the January 25, 2011 protests and police action - it came to a thundering halt. What's on offer in the shops, souks and museums has all the appearance of last year's goods. Income from that source has dwindled significantly. 


Now shopkeepers are stuck with cheap imported junk, a lot fewer customers and an unsustainable approach to merchandising and selling. It's obvious too that much of their inventory was not manufactured locally. Unlike other countries in the region where I've visited, Morocco and Turkey, there appeared to be no local craft industry. Yet, everywhere there was delicately manufactured chattels and trinkets. 

Honestly, I saw nothing being made that a tourist would be interested in buying. When challenged, they say, "No, it is made in Egypt". But, the empty "Made in China" packing cartons scattered all around the souks tells the true story.

Another thing, for the prices locals are paying for these goods the cost must be extremely low. It's interesting to ponder the value of the Egyptian market to China. Many home essential goods are imported from there. Based on my use of some of them during my trip, there is a lot of room for product quality improvement. If they are making a profit in such a poor country imagine how fantastically profitable it must be selling to the USA and European markets.

Most Egyptians in the tourism sector are living off a 5,000 year old story. It's a hugely valuable asset, a well established brand but poorly nourished. 
Culturally, this seems to be fine with the locals. They are acutely aware of the essentials of capitalism but seem to have little understanding of marketing or long term planning. It's as if the total revenue from tourism is divvied up among too many recipients and there's never much left over for repairs or improvements. Based on my own experiences, there’s the same neglect in public spaces, boat landings, train and bus stations from near the border with Sudan all the way north via Aswan and Luxor en route to Cairo. Egyptians don't seem to be making any strides to modernize, or even maintain, and glaringly unaware of the threats to their feature assets.

It's unfortunate too that while tourism revenues are down, the rest of the country must be in better shape. Egypt still produces wealth from the country's other assets. For example, Egypt is a major force in the construction industry throughout the Middle East, producing many of the materials used in it, like cement and other raw materials. In spite of this, the museums, hotels, taxis, camels, horses and donkeys all look down on their heel. That's a poor business decision that will have an increasingly negative impact for tourism. 
  
These people are screwed. It looks to me like the police and military are just waiting them out. The majority of Egyptians are poorly educated and so culturally retarded to be any match for the 1% that hold the levers to coercive power. The oppressors will undoubtedly reappear, and maybe soon when temperatures rise again to their most enervating. The country needs leadership but it's more likely to get another richly-anointed Chief Corruption Officer. Egypt has been controlled by force since antiquity and the current military machine won't tolerate change that endangers its preferred status. The oppressed can't hold out forever either. 

A weird combination of a lowering of the cost of many goods, in the face of a decline in revenues, has conspired to deaden the shock waves of the 2011 Egyptian Spring. It looks like a good deal for the controlling segments in the society but it's a lousy one for most. China enjoys good relations with Egypt for reasons solely to do with natural resources. I'd say the Chinese got the gas but 99% of Egyptians got the pains.

Amazingly, I noticed a number of references to Che Guevara, the kind of leader Egypt needs. But, I saw no evidence that his image is portrayed as anything but another piece of eye candy for the tourists. When I quizzed those retailers about their product offering they appeared to have either no clue who Che Guevara was and even managed somehow to link him with Bob Marley!  

This was the dirtiest, downtrodden country I've ever visited.
The underlying combination of religion and paganism could well be designed to maintain the population close to the lowest common denominator. Along with the chilling effects of fiscal withdrawal and a hands-off police force, it simply looks like another slight-of-hand piece of politics. The kind of political machination measured sparingly enough to mollify the great unwashed until such times as their oppressors re-emerge from their holes to get behind another modern day leader. One who will no doubt take a "rightful" place among a long line of despots. What this country needs is a severe injection of socialism but I fear the "Gods" will resist and the people appear inept at channeling their own collective power.

I went to see the only remaining Wonder of the World, the Pyramids and the Sphinx. They're located in a huge open air museum that is also an active archeological dig. At the edge of Cairo, in a suburb that threatens the very sands these monuments sit upon, Giza public transit takes you right to the foot of the Sphinx. It's an easy walk from there to the ticket office but you must endure another onslaught from the world’s most annoying tourist touts.



Where you from? (Canada, ah Canada Dry, never die) 
What's your name? (Lovely name, same as my father) 
You want scarf? (Made in Egypt, look like Arafat)

It drives you nuts and there’s no relief - even if you fight back.

Where you from? (Afghanistan, oh yea?) 
What's your name? (Osama bin Laden) 
You happy he's dead? (Don't even go there!)

Once through the gauntlet there's a lot more to endure. There’s garbage strewn everywhere. Horse, camel, donkey and dog crap desiccating in full sun and under foot. 

You can’t stop for a look around without some tout approaching and going through the same old, same old routines. Of course, there are two Egyptians. Any who were not annoying touts came across as friendly enough. But, the touts are surely leaving an indelible image on the minds of visitors. I came across a few who I rewarded with a tip of Toronto proportion but in every case my generosity was scoffed at in a most demeaning manner! These were not nice people at all.

Everywhere you look there are solutions that would make the situation better, but Egyptians aren't interested. A simple thing like a garbage bin is resisted because, "who wants a garbage bin on their corner?" That the garbage is tossed on, or swept to, that corner anyway doesn't seem to resonate. These are a culturally stubborn people. That so much of their well-being depends on tourism concerns them very little either. My guess is only the most die-hard Egyptologists would ever want to return to this place.

On the night before I left Cairo I walked by Tahrir Square. Friday is the holy day and the day of protest. That Friday was at the tail end of the Eid holiday. The streets were absolutely crowded with little room for cars or people to move. Drivers honked incessantly, out of holiday joy and frustration. The horn in Egypt is both a toy and an imaginary weapon for disposing of obstacles. 



video




In one of the roundabouts off Tahrir, three or four young men had taken up position on the statue in the centre. It was obvious they were spouting political protest but only a small crowd was paying any attention. If CNN had been filming it could easily have looked like a growing protest. 

Thankfully though, that didn’t happen until a week after I left. Having been ‘gypt enough, I was happy to have seen what I wanted but also quite happy to get the hell out of there.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Safetytoes on the Nile.

My company, Safetytoes International Inc., sells the Slipp-R rubber safety overshoe to end-users all over the world and I often go on missionary work where interest in our products is on the uptake. Trips like these have a fair amount of personal discovery too and after a couple of days in noisy, hectic Cairo I flew as far south as I could go to begin such a journey. 
It's a four hour trek from Abu Simbel to Aswan that skirts the Western Desert. That being the case, it's best done in the cool of the near morning. Temperatures in this part of the world are in the 80/90 degree range, in the winter, and in the 105/110 degree category, in summer. We had stayed in Abu Simbel village for the previous two nights and decided to make the journey to Aswan as early as possible. 

The preferred vehicle is the 6am big bus that carries 60 passengers but, on the night before, we were alarmed to learn that it was already sold out. We had come up against another one of those big floating Muslim holidays. The kind that jump onto calendars from nowhere and give independent travellers a very hard time. Try as she did, my wife had no luck flattering the crusty old driver or his assistant. The bus was full and there were no more tickets to be sold. The later bus was a 1pm start, a long hot drive and a late arrival in Aswan. It was not on our wish list.  

Public sanitary conditions in Egypt are crude. Public spaces are trashed and floors everywhere are horrible. We faced the prospect of a dangerous, dreadfully uncomfortable and unsanitary trip ahead of us. With so many locals planning a well earned sojourn from work, our chances of getting on the 1pm bus were, at best, dubious. Big buses in Egypt carry loads of spare parts, and their own mechanic, so our worries seemed well founded. We had little choice and at 10pm we went to bed comforted only by an offer of "seats" on the floor of the 6am big bus. 

In Abu Simbel we stayed in a small 5 room hotel constructed in the Nubian style. It was very comfortable indeed, given that we were situated on the perimeter of a great desert. At 5 am we headed to the village transit assembly point. The large open space public square in heart of the village was already filling up with like-minded travellers. 

Aswan is the most easily accessed modern urban area. It's the Southern Egypt destination of choice for a well earned vacation. For many of the resident farm and livestock workers it may be the only holiday they get. We were only about 24 kms north of the border with Sudan and surprised to learn that Khartoum is a much shorter direct drive route to comfort and joy than Aswan. However, no travel is permitted there down the western side of the Nile, even for locals wishing to spend time with family or friends.  It's bandit and kidnap territory where close quarters protection is recommended.  The only approved route is to first trek the 300 kms north to Aswan, cross the Nile and head south again another 300 kms to the Sudan border and another 350 kms to Khartoom. For locals in the Abu Simbel area to visit family just inside the Sudan border it could mean a trip of over 600 kms!

Not that we had any desire to visit Khartoum, however, it was sad to learn of the inconvenience and unfairness of all this coming and going. The territory from Aswan to Khartoom is the Region of Nubia, a thin band of ancient culture clustered along both sides of the Nile. While never a very large population, Nubia is considered by many to be the birthplace of Egypt. It was a Nubian Pharaoh that first conquered the south and successfully unified the country. The Nubian culture is fantastically rich and the Nubian temperament endearing. 

Unfortunately for Nubians, none of this mattered much when Egypt decided to dam the Nile at Aswan shortly after the 1952 revolution. This threatened some stunning temples, tombs and other important archeological sites, two of which are in Abu Simbel. 

Following a world-wide appeal, hugely important archaeological ruins were relocated in a monumental international effort from 1956 to 1962. The rising water drowned the ancient Nubian society with considerably less sympathy. Approximately 120,000 Nubians were simply forced to move to new housing with no compensation for loss of incomes or income generating assets. 

The area was famous for its date palm trees many of which were very old. The date palm requires years of growth before yielding significant amounts of fruit.  Today, they now lie under millions of gallons of water at the bottom of Lake Nasser. The northern Egyptian Government, domiciled in Cairo thousands of kms away, left much to be desired in terms of equity and fairness. Since all habitation was located in a very narrow strip on either side of the river, most of Nubia now lies under water. The current complexity of travel has made family and old extended family contact a real hardship. While the Aswan dams have provided Egypt with an abundance of wealth-producing opportunities, they have all but decimated a much respected ancient society.

The big bus had not yet arrived and we noticed that there was a constant mustering of small 14-seater mini buses. We learned that these head out as soon as they filled and one looked like it would be leaving soon. So, we negotiated a price and hopped on the one we hoped would be first to depart. Leaving so early meant we would arrive in Aswan by 8.30 am and in plenty of time to secure a hotel. It's funny how unexpected consequences can bring so much joy! We escaped sitting on the floor of the big bus. With all the pressure from the unexpected Muslim holiday we had started to worry about availability of reasonable accommodations. Now, arriving at our destination so early and the added bonus of an actual seat, we were feeling a whole lot better about the new day. 

Buses and taxis travel in convoy here. Being just 15 miles north of the Sudan border we suspected this was for good reason. The route is protected by military check points and we maintained a low profile throughout the trip. Our travel book had indicated foreigners were not permitted to travel this way. Only travel on the big bus, first class train or by air is allowed for tourists. Since most Egyptian buses travel with a mechanic we figured breakdowns were frequent so we reckoned travelling in convoy was for good reason. For the independent or guided traveller these reasons give a much appreciated sense of security. 

We left Abu Simbel with only 11 on board our reasonably appointed mini-bus. At each group of people along the road our driver stopped for a brief few words. It became obvious that he was looking for some other passengers. Then phone calls started to come. Apparently, the other three passengers were further ahead, and late. This didn't please the driver. Like the rest of our group he was Nubian who are a very pleasant people but seemingly also quick to anger. Finally, at the mouth of a road emerging from the desert, there appeared two men and two children. They clambered on board and we entered the desert proper.

The road is black top, smooth, straight and well maintained. Another rather nice bonus. The sun peeped up at around 6 am, not that anybody but us was noticing. Our fellow passengers were quiet or slumbering. After the sun had ascended it all became quite boring. Until that is, the racing started. Hammering along at average speeds of 120 kms an hour a game of overtaking dulled the boredom for the drivers. With the road being so sure-footed it didn't bother me and I soon recognized the bus against which we were in competition. There was only desert on either side and overtaking was the only fun to be had. Occasional and annoying Arabic music and constant interruptions from cell phone calls ensured there was no chance of sleeping either. 

We had only one crude toilet stop before we disembarked at a spot along the Aswan Cornice. It looked like good hotel room hunting grounds. We were spot on! Within an hour we had already crossed the Nile twice for the first time and secured a decent hotel room for the following two nights.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How to Prepare a PPE Assessment

 It is the employer's responsibility to assess workplace hazards. These assessments should be used to determine if any personal protective equipment is required, 'on the job.' Here's a good way of going about a risk assessment.

Go 'walk-about' in all the workplace settings under your responsibility. You should be looking for anything that might constitute a hazard. Situations that could result in;

• Impact from objects falling or dropped
• Compression from rolling stock
• Penetration from anything underfoot or at height
• Chemical spill or leakage
• Heat exposure, fiery and long term
• Dust inhaled or airborne that could ignite

Look for the source of any risks you might encounter. Here are some;
 
• Rolling stock such as forklifts or dock levelers
• Objects that could fall or which are allowed to fall or drop
• Machinery and tools that might unexpectedly interfere with workers or move other objects.
• Excessive heat sources that could injure from touch or cause adverse effects on persons.
• Stores of chemical that could result in exposure
• Dust
• Work resulting in excessive friction or exposure to light and
• Sharp objects and off-cuts underfoot or close at hand
• Electrical installations or components
 
After your walk-about commit your findings to a database. Organise your data according to the areas or work procedures that you observed. Remember, others will benefit from reading this so keep it simple and accurate. All this will help in the selection and justification for the PPE you select and it will help keep your initial analysis up to date.
 
Your database should now be your best tool for evaluating the overall risk including how likely this could result in personal injury. Of course every risk should be considered but keep in mind the possibility that more than one hazard could exist in any given work setting.
 
Once you've compiled your data and reviewed the results you still need to recommend the appropriate PPE. This should be a common-sense and technical approach. You'll have to know what PPE is available to you. There will be differing levels of protection depending on brands and some might be eliminated completely at this stage. You'll have to match the workplace risk with the right piece of PPE.
 
Ignore cost until you have identified the item of PPE that affords the best safety features but keep in mind there are always cost-effective alternatives to expensive PPE. Be especially careful about the useful life of any article of PPE. All too often, PPE is rendered useless by excessive wear on cheaper materials. Explore also where the products are made and how dedicated is the manufacturer to safety, as opposed to selling and marketing.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The ongoing plastic exposed-toe wars.

Looks like there's anger again among the plastic exposed-toe resellers. It seems yet another company has ripped-off the "original" plastic safetytoe. (Of course that's a bit like saying another company has ripped-off the "original" fishing pole.) The reason for the anger is loss of profits. When you make a cheap product and somebody else brings the same cheap product to market, the "original" rip-off artists suffer a drop in sales.

The Slipp-R rubber enclosed steel toe safety overshoe is unique. It is not copied because it is not a cheap product and easy to copy. You would have to be interested more on safety than profit. The plastic exposed-toe products are not in demand so much as resellers are making too much profit from pushing an inferior product that has a very short useful life. It is only the short useful life cycle that ensures reorders.

With each passing month the Slipp-R grows in awareness. More and more companies are starting to realise the real cost of buying a cheap plastic safety overshoe. For example, what's the point of a price guarantee if the product fails after only 3 months? What comfort is there in paying the lowest price going for a cheap product? It still fits poorly, tears and wears-down easily and heaven help you if you are wearing flat-soled outer shoes. That excess bit for the heel gets squashed underfoot with every step. Where's the "safety" in that?

The Slipp-R rubber enclosed steel toe safety overshoe is still the only product of its kind that can honestly say  it is "Made in Canada". Some resellers only wish they could say that, honestly. If they are saying it, then can you trust what else they say? If they aren't saying it, what do they have to be ashamed of?

Here at the original safetytoes.com we service those "in-the-know". Big, smart companies like Coca Cola, Unilever, Novapharm, Grace Industries, PetSmart and small, smart companies that know the difference between cheap plastic and durable rubber.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Visitor safety shoes - what are they?

Put yourself in visitor shoes. Would you, like most people, hope they were clean and free from germs and bacteria? Even when wearing your own socks, there is a real chance that germs can infiltrate your body. Wearing shoes previously worn by strangers conjures up feelings of human hair in food, and often it doesn’t matter that the hair is one’s own!

The standard clause in workplace safety procedures includes reference to OSHA regulations. Risk assessments must be made and it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that the proper Personal Protective Equipment is worn by employees. If the risk assessment determines the need for safety shoes or boots to be worn at all times then even occasional trips through the designated safety zones require full protective safety footwear. The regulations require this of office personnel who do not frequent the production floor on a regular basis. Regulations also require where employers provide safety footwear for occasional use that it must be fully cleaned and sanitized inside and out before it is given to the next wearer. Many companies provide safety footwear for occasional use but how can one be sure that the footwear has been sanitized?

The visitor shoes market has been benefiting from advances in the safetytoe overshoe sector. Manufacturers of safetytoe overshoes have been educating employers and helping them reduce their overall safety costs. Visitors are not employees but they are deserving of the same minimum standard of safety when entering industrial environments. The production floor may well have a requirement for employees to wear full safety shoes or boots. Perhaps employees are subjected to sharp objects underfoot as well as the threat of falling objects. This would require them to wear toe protected and steel soled safety shoes or boots. However, where visitors are chaperoned and guided along safe passageways there is no need to impose full safety footwear upon them or incur the cost and hassle of it.

Rubber safetytoe overshoes provide the same level of toe protection as required by OSHA for workers in industrial settings. The same levels of impact and compression are provided for in the steel toecaps used in safetytoe overshoes. OSHA does not approve PPE but it does impose minimum standards where protective equipment is required. These minimum standards must be ASTM / ANSI “or equivalent”. So much so that a steel toecap with a strap or elastic retainer was the norm before safetytoe overshoes first came on the market. Today these are frowned upon, due to the loose straps and buckles themselves becoming a safety hazard. Often referred to as “those yellow clackers”, for varying reasons visitors dislike wearing them and plant managers cringe at the noise they make on factory floors. Items of PPE that make the wearer feel uncomfortable are less likely to be worn consistently. Likewise, an item of PPE that gives rise to derisory comment is less likely to be embraced.

Rubber safetytoe overshoes are now available with the steel toecaps completely encased in the rubber material. They are stylish and comfortable. Design enhancements have much improved their appearance and safety features. The rubber material itself affords greater slip resistance. There are no straps or buckles to contend with and in some cases the overshoe can be put on and taken off with only one hand. Rubber safetytoe overshoes can be transferred from person to person with no hygiene issues and outer shoes completely enclosed in a rubber overshoe are less likely to contaminate food production and clean room settings. These innovative and versatile items of PPE are a lot less expensive than full safety footwear and the rubber material will not harden, stiffen or crack, even in cold temperatures.

All in all, safetytoe overshoes, for all the right reasons, have in effect become visitor shoes