Should Rigger Boots be banned?
There is no law banning Rigger Boots, but there is a growing trend with companies buying footwear for their workforce that has more ankle support than the Rigger Boot provides. With slips, trips and falls being the most common type of injury, accounting for 40% of major injuries reported in the workplace, there has been a rise in high-leg boots with more robust ankle support.
The Purpose of Rigger Boots
Originally, Rigger Boots were designed for workers on oil rigs where falling overboard was a constant risk. Being easily removable, the Rigger Boot was a safe and practical choice for quickly removing weight and avoiding waterlogging.
Today, their uses are more widespread and varied. The Rigger Boot has been adopted within the construction and agricultural sectors. Many wearers view Rigger Boots as an attractive option for a waterproof safety boot. They are typically chosen for comfort, a looser fit, and effective waterproofing. Some wearers also choose Rigger Boots for ease of cleaning.
Currently, there is no legislation in place relating to Rigger Boots. However, there has been a cultural shift in PPE to remove Rigger Boots from the workplace. Particularly on some construction sites, companies have implemented their own policies that ban them from use.
We believe that there are two reasons for this: Some companies have found there is an increase in twisted or sprained ankle injuries due to a lack of ankle support. Others highlight the loose-fitting tops of Rigger Boots increase the risk of foreign objects and hazardous substances falling into the boot.
However, while these exposures are typically only relevant to a small number of wearers, many sites streamline their PPE by standardising the policy across the entire environment. This leaves wearers who don’t need alternative boots forced to wear the approved equipment.
How to Choose the Best Boots
Like all PPE, finding the right boots is a balancing act. Comfort affects performance, but injuries affect workers’ wellbeing and can have a company-wide impact on productivity and profit.
While that balance will be different from site to site, there are five key areas to examine:
- Assess the workplace environment. A risk assessment should highlight uneven surfaces, hazardous conditions such as loose rocks on a path, and the exposures your wearers face. You can then use this information to educate your workers and, where possible, prevent the root cause issues. It’s not just about your boots.
- Analyse your safety data. What incidents or injuries have occurred? What does the data tell you about your exposures? This intelligence should underpin any decision about footwear.
- Select boots based on their properties. As you shortlist boots, check for the protective qualities you need - from anti-static to exceptional slip ratings or chemical resistances. At the same time, consider the properties that will engage wearers, like easy donning and doffing, and comfort.
- Remember your workers’ preferences. Put yourself in the position of your wearers. If you worked in a sewer all day, would you want to unlace boots or would you rather have a no-lace boot that you could wash down before removing? It can be valuable to engage your wearers in the process, really getting to know their challenges and what they feel is needed from their PPE.
Rigger Boots may be right in some circumstances, but it’s important you take the time to check. If Rigger Boots aren’t a good match, there are numerous alternatives choose from.
The Panther InDry Waterproof Carbon Leather Hi-Leg Boot is waterproof, zip-sided for easy access, and provides the ankle support that Rigger Boots lack. With maximum slip resistance and anti-static properties, it’s a popular choice for balancing comfort, easy washing, and fast donning and doffing with effective protection.
Speak to an Advisor at Anchor Safety today to discuss your requirements on 0800 328 5028 or Request a Call back from one of our Customer Care team.