Why Are Rigger Boots Banned On Some Sites?

Why Are Rigger Boots Banned On Some Sites?

What Are Rigger Boots?

Rigger boots are a slip-on style of safety footwear, manufactured to fill the product gap between wellington and lace up boots. They were originally designed for people working on oil rigs, hence the name. Their looser fit compared to traditional work boots makes them easier to remove in an emergency situation, such as falling into deep water – a constant hazard for those working on oil rig platforms. With increased waterproofing, anti slip soles, and toe protection, they are made with a wider calf, enabling coveralls to be tucked into them which reduces the risk of snagging. However, they are not always the safest or most appropriate footwear in an increasing number of situations.

What’s The Problem With Rigger Boots?

Industry experts have observed that the risk of foot and ankle injury is increased when wearing rigger boots, as they boots offer no protection against ankle rolling. When walking on rough or uneven ground, ankle sprains and breaks are likely. There is also no extra midsole layer to provide a defence against the penetration of sharp objects such as screws, nails and broken glass. It is very important when selecting footwear to ensure that it is appropriate for, and will provide, the maximum foot protection against the specific hazards of the job in hand.

It is a legal requirement that all PPE, workwear and footwear worn on site must be fully compliant with the relevant safety regulations, but further consideration must be given to the actual risks that are prevalent. As an example, wellington boots would be the sensible and safe choice of foot wear when pouring concrete, as other options would not safeguard against cement burns.

Are Rigger Boots Banned From Sites?

Whilst rigger boots are not subject to specific government regulation, they may be prohibited on individual sites, especially particularly large ones, or by certain contractors. It is always best practice to check with the relevant company or site safety personnel on specific safety policies.

How Do I Choose the Appropriate Footwear?

With falls, slips and trips a common occurrence on site, safety boots should have slip resistance as well as providing durability and comfort for the wearer. Other key characteristics that should be considered are toe protection, waterproofing, ESD compliance, and anti-static properties. Also ensure that the boots have a high quality out-sole. This feature helps guard against debris, oil and chemical splashes, and heat, whilst reducing the risk of slippages. It is strongly recommended to replace safety footwear regularly, either when signs of disrepair become evident, or a more arbitrary 6 to 12 month maximum usage limit rule.

When selecting protective footwear, it is important to consider protection for your entire foot and ankle, not just the toe and midsole areas. Riggers boots are designed to provide a specific level of protection applicable to a specific industry. Nevertheless, the protection and safety of the wearer must always be the highest priority, which is why building contractors ban the wearing of them on some construction sites.

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For an overview of other styles and options, from basic safety footwear to the latest in protective footwear technology, check out these alternatives.

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