â€œThis is a significant change,â€ says Rick Johnson, senior executive vice president of Michelin Footwear. â€œA safety director is used to looking inside a shoe and seeing an ANSI label with all the typical ANSI nomenclature about what the product is meant to do.â€
The ANSI Z41 Committee â€“ Protective Footwear and its published 1999 version of the Z41 standard has been withdrawn. New, soon-to-be-published ASTM standards will supersede it. ASTM International Committee F13 Safety and Traction for Footwear will now handle the oversight and distribution of the former ANSI Z41 Standard for Personal Protection â€“ Protective Footwear. Z41 covered performance requirements and test method standards. According to ASTM, this agreement among ASTM International, American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and the National Safety Council officially dissolves Z41 as an ANSI committee and paves the way for ASTM Committee F13.
ANSI Z41 performance standards for safety footwear have been in place since 1967. The standard provides performance requirements and test methods for foot protection. The Z41 requirements have been referenced within OSHA 1910 guidelines for worker safety for more than 35 years.
Minimal technical changesAccording to ASTM, the first protective footwear standards promulgated under F13 will be based on the existing ANSI Z41 standards, and are expected to be available in early 2005. Drafts for each existing safety footwear category have been written and can be found on the ASTM International Web site (www.astm.org) and by searching for information on them by their Work Item numbers:
- WK4519 â€” Specification for Personal Protective Footwear
- WK4520 â€” Performance Test Methods for Personal Protective Footwear
The new standards will have minimal technical changes from the ANSI Z41 1999 standard, according to ASTM.
Minor changes include the removal of class 30 for impact and compression requirements. Subtle adjustments to portions of the methodology have been written into the drafts. According to ASTM, the majority of existing industry inventory and product information labeled with the ANSI Z41 1999 standard should be compliant with the first-generation ASTM standards.
New labelingManufacturers will need to review the new ASTM documents to ensure compliance. After publication of the standards, future product labeling should indicate compliance with ASTM and its nomenclature depicting the applicable safety standards. Plus, any organization that has a protective footwear policy will have to update its written policies, changing references to indicate the new ASTM standards.
ASTM will advise OSHA of the change. â€œWe are not sure how OSHA will handle this. The publish date of OSHAâ€™s (personal protective equipment) standard does not coincide with the change from ANSI to ASTM,â€ says Johnson, who was a voting member of the ANSI Z41 committee and is now a voting member of ASTM F13.
The change becomes official after the final vote by the ASTM F13 committee, scheduled for the last week of January. There will be a short waiting period before the new label must take effect, but a grace period, expected to be roughly 12 months, will be extended before it becomes mandatory, says Johnson.
For more information regarding the transfer of ANSI Z41 to ASTM F13 and the safety footwear documents that are being developed, contact Daniel Schultz, ASTM International, at (610) 832-9716 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SIDEBAR: Foot injuries: Painful & disablingEvery day, 400 people hurt their feet on the job, according to the National Safety Council. Thatâ€™s 180,000 injuries to the feet every year. Ouch! Many of these cases end up in a hospital waiting room. (See stats from England.) The NSC estimates each injury costs $6,000 per incident.
Most, of course, can be prevented. Sixty-six percent of injured workers were wearing safety shoes, protective footwear, heavy-duty shoes or boots, and 33 percent regular street shoes, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. BUT of those wearing safety shoes, 85 percent were injured because the object hit an unprotected part of the shoe or boot.
Hospital visits â€” Most foot injuries are more than stubbing your toe. When you injure your foot or ankle on the job, chances are you: 1) grin and bear it, or 2) head to the hospital.
And if youâ€™re off to the hospital, chances are you have a serious injury that could keep you out of work for a time. Check these statistics compiled by Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03.
Dislocations, sprains and strains â€” Nine of ten hospital episodes for dislocation, sprain and strain of joints and ligaments of ankle and foot required hospital admission in England 2002-03.
Nerve damage â€” 100 percent of hospital episodes for injury of nerves at ankle and foot level required hospital admission in England 2002-03.
Blood vessel injury â€” Two-thirds (67 percent) of hospital episodes for injury of blood vessels at ankle and foot level required hospital admission in England 2002-03.
Muscle and tendon damage â€” 95 percent of hospital episodes for injury of muscle and tendon at ankle and foot level required hospital admission in England 2002-03.
Crushing injuries â€”