I’m back with another safety topic here on this partly cloudy Friday. We endured rain and high winds last night in the streets of New York City. Thankfully, it is much nicer today. I have a varsity football game for my son and his team the Carmel Rams tonight. They are again undefeated in their division this year. How was your work week for you this past week, my friend? I want to review the requirement, on some construction projects, of wearing safety composite toe shoes. Before I dive into this topic, I want to share some updates on my various projects. As I stated in my last post, I’m re-releasing it under the name “$ugar Momma Baddie” in my online e-store through Spring and Shopify. I have two designs to choose from: 1) Feisty Lady Trio 2) Sugar Momma Bed. So far, I still have the old slogans on the Shopify and Spring e-commerce platforms. I still need to craft the storefronts with the changed logos very soon. I shall offer the “$ugar Momma Baddie” store links for the updated logos on the merchandise when I make the revisions. The audio book version for, “Not All Girls Play With Dolls” is now available on Audible and other distribution chains. The audio book went live on October 10th in the French, Dutch, U.K., and U.S. markets on Audible. The links for each market can be found further down in this blog post. Now, let’s get into the meat and potatoes of this safety topic. I’m so not a fan of having to wear either steel toe or composite toe work boots. Oftentimes, they feel narrow, heavy, and are extremely hard to break in and make comfortable. After an 8-hr shift, it feels like you were wearing ankle weights all damn day. I have a new pair of Red Wings Irish Setters and they are still slightly uncomfortable to wear longer than I absolutely have to wear them. I always go home and to work in my sneakers. My Irish Setters are loaded with pretty much all available safety features. My old, black Timberland Pros are my preferred work boot to wear. I actually just bought a brand-new pair of grey Timberland Pros. The downside is that they are not equipped with a safety toe. I can only imagine how heavy logging boots are since they must be made with cut resistant material to withstand a hit from a chainsaw. Logging boots are required by OSHA to be cut resistant under standard 29 CFR 1910.266(d)(1)(v). The average logger must have lean, mean legs for days after wearing them daily.
You may ask as to why are “hardened tip” safety shoes even required? The goal is to protect your toes in the event that an extremely heavy item drops on a worker’s foot. The other danger is that this sheet of metal that’s in your boot serves as a guillotine for all of the digits upon impact on the foot. Many, many moons ago, the first protective boots were wooden boots, called “sabots”. A sabot can be defined as a kind of simple shoe that was shaped and hollowed out from a single block of wood. This heavy footwear style was traditionally worn by French and Breton peasants. These “wooden boats” worked to protect workers from falling objects. I can only imagine how heavy and uncomfortable these shoes must have felt on the feet after a long day in the field! Sabots protected farmers on the field from sharp objects and protected toes in case a horse or cow stepped on them. During the early industrial revolution, workers used sabots to destroy machinery by throwing them into the gears of factories to stop production. The word sabotage came from this activity. The first attempt at steel toe protective technology was reported to come from Germany back in 1930. This very first boot was intended for industrial workers and ended up being geared for the military. Based upon my research, it is unclear as to exactly who actually invented the steel toe boot concept. Believe it or not, the non-commissioned German soldiers had metal caps placed in their boots. During my research, I learned that the footwear company Red Wing Shoes, based in Red Wing, Minnesota, was founded by Charles H. Beckman back in 1905. Within 10-years of starting up, Red Wing Shoes was producing 200,000 pairs of boots each year. Over the years, I’ve owned quite a few pairs of Red Wings. I was on a deck job where I was working in the basement with the brick layers. We were wading in a few inches of water all day in the basement. To my pleasant surprise, my socks stayed dry all day! I’ve kept my Red Wings and went to a cobbler and had them re-soled. They last for a long time despite the rough conditions the boots are subjected to each day. Red Wing Shoes became the preferred manufacturer of American soldier during World War I. Red Wing Shoes was the first company to mass manufacture steel toe boots for American soldiers during World War II.
Prior to World War II, it was actually cheaper to just pay off a family after a fatality and then get a new worker versus introducing any personal protective equipment onsite (known for short as PPE). Imagine how rough it was for the families of workers who had gotten injured while at work during the Industrial Revolution with no PPE and no laws in place to protect the worker? The passing of various U.S. legislation all worked to put the average company on the hook for compensation after worker accidents. Wisconsin was the first state to pass the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Act back in 1911. By 1948, Mississippi was the last state to get on board with protecting their workers via compensation laws. Once legislation was passed and a company becomes liable, it’s time to get worker’s compensation insurance to offset the cost of accidents. The insurance representatives then collectively work to force the entire industry to reduce the likelihood of accidents through the introduction of safer practices and protection for workers. If a company chooses to not work safer, then it’s a guarantee that company insurance premiums will soar to new heights. When it boils down to it, companies see workers as a financial liability. Therefore, they are only making the work environment safer to keep costs down. Protecting the worker is a side effect of keeping worker compensation costs down. No matter the reason, it is still much easier and safer to work within dangerous environments than ever before in history. Over the years, I used to hear about the various construction urban legends while at work. Seasoned workers said that unfortunate workers who fell in during a 1930’s concrete pour for a bridge were not rescued. The deceased worker drowned in concrete and became a part of the foundation since retrieving the body was impossible. However, I struggle to find an actual published story on these urban legends.
Back when I served in the military in the U.S. Navy Seabees, I was required to wear steel toe boots with my uniform. The steel toe adds a significant amount of weight to the feet. We had to run at least 5 miles per day while wearing them. I feel entirely too old to attempt to do that today. Thankfully, safety work boots have shifted away from steel toe and morphed into other material compositions. I discovered this website, known as Justia Patents, that listed some patents for engineered safety footwear. The modern material that’s used to create safety footwear, via next level technology include: plastic, composite fiber, thermoplastic, neoprene, polyaramid or aramid (Kevlar), graphite or engineering polymer, vulcanized rubber, plastic resin, glass-filled polyurethane, aluminum, and fiber-filled plastic resin. The timeframe for these submitted safety shoe patents on this website ranges from 1974 to 2000. I’m unsure if newer patents have hit the market after the year 2000. However, it makes sense that new patents exist since the goal is to always become the next big product. The term “composite” means a blend of multiple material sources that work together to form a strong compound that’s used to protect the foot. Modern safety shoes have safety features such as toe and metatarsal guards, electric hazard, electro static discharge, puncture resistant, and slip resistant. A key factor to keep in mind is that once the surface has been compromised, it can no longer guarantee against future hazards. Modern safety shoes have a big job to provide protection since each foot contains 26 bones for support and 38 joints for movement. As you can see, you have quite a few bones and joints in your foot that require protection. For some subcultures, as early as the 1960’s, steel toe boots were considered fashionable. In response to this fashion trend, shoe brands such as Dr. Martens and Grinders actually became popular with skinheads. Brand popularity grew due to the sturdiness of the steel toe boots. This was largely due to the fact that the boot could be considered dangerous in fighting and were used as weapons. Later on in the ’80s and ’90s, other punk and Rivethead subcultures adopted the use of steel toe footwear as well.
I recently discovered, during my research for this safety topic, that there are two major categories of work related foot injuries. The first major foot injury category includes foot injuries from punctures, crushing, sprains, and lacerations. This first round of major foot injuries account for 10 percent of all reported disabling injuries. The second major foot injury group consists of injuries that result from slips, trips, and falls. This second foot injury category accounts for 15 percent of all reported disabling injuries. Your feet are laden with a series of blood vessels, ligaments, muscles, and nerves. Let’s not forget that your entire body weight rides on those feet while being out and about during the day. This is why foot injuries are so painful and debilitating when they occur. Foot injuries remind you exactly how important your feet are for your body. The legs and feet get the least amount of rest during injury recovery since going to the bathroom and the fridge is the bare minimum requirement to survive. The Occupational Safety & Health Act, first passed back in 1970, along with other types of safety legislation all work together to force your employer to pitch in and help protect your little piggies from being crushed while on the jobsite. Safety equipment, such as safety shoes, shall comply with American National Standards Institute (ANSI), ANSI Z-41-1991, “American National Standard for Personal Protection-Protective Footwear” [62 FR 40141, July 15,1997]. For many employees, safety shoes are not provided by the employer and must be purchased by the employee. In the past, buying safety boots are considered to be a high expense of obtaining employment. Due to modern technology, you do not absolutely have to wear safety shoes with the toe guards imbedded within the shoe. Retail vendors carry toe guards that can be slipped over your work boot and even a tennis shoe. Some have a rubber strap that stretches over your heel. I actually just purchased a toe guard that has an adjustable strap that goes over the back of the heel. I’ve even seen rubberized slip on covers that slide over the bottom half of your boot on Amazon as well. This add-on safety feature costs between $25-50 online. Therefore, you have no excuse to not protect your own damn feet. 😛
Thanks for stopping by to review my “Leslie Talk” on the topic of safety shoes. My goal is to share some information with you that helps you along your life journey. Perhaps you will take better care of your feet while under hazardous conditions? Feel free to share this blog post with your construction buddy. I’m always open to safety topic suggestions so don’t be shy and share them. Don’t forget to follow me at leslie_m_jasper on Tik Tok or Verbally Disastrous on YouTube. Share your feedback on my content down in the comment section at the bottom of the blog post. If you appreciate listening to podcasts, I encourage you to review my last (8) podcast episodes that are listed down below from The Verbally Disastrous Podcast, via links for Spotify & YouTube down below. If you are into reading on a Kindle, check out my newest short story release that belongs to my Construction Tales-Told By A Woman Kindle Vella Library short story series on Amazon down below. My last short story #11 is entitled, “Juggling Motherhood & Working With The Tools”. This short story covers my life as a widowed, single mother in the era when I juggled both motherhood and my career as a journeywoman electrician. The previous short story is #10 is entitled, “Early Life Lessons & Characters To Meet As An Apprentice”. If anyone has read any of my other previous short stories, let me know your thoughts? Feel free to go ahead and check out the many links for my book #ConstructionTales down below. It is that time where we temporarily part ways so that you can finish up your Friday work/school/home tasks and get ready for another amazing weekend. As I have said many times, my hat goes off to you if you are hitting that second job and/or night shift! Try your best to go home in the same condition that you came in earlier. I wish you a great morning/afternoon/evening on your side of the globe and a restful or productive day!
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Link To Construction Tales: Volume I: A Woman’s Journey To Become An Electrician (Paperback & Kindle) On Amazon:
Link To Construction Tales: A Young Person’s Guide To Accomplish Anything In Life (Paperback & Kindle) On Amazon:
U.S.A.: Use This Link For The Audio Version Of My Book #ConstructionTales On Audible:
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VERBALLY DISASTROUS PODCAST EPISODE LINKS:
Here is the link to the Verbally Disastrous Podcast on Spotify:
Verbally Disastrous! Season #1, Episode #43: Part A- Tramping In Cali! on YouTube:
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Verbally Disastrous! Season #2, Episode #46:Early Life Lessons & Characters To Meet As An Apprentice On YouTube:
Verbally Disastrous Podcast! S#2, Ep. #47: Part A- Juggling Motherhood & Working With The Tools on YouTube:
Verbally Disastrous Podcast! S#2, Ep. #48: Part B- Juggling Motherhood & Working With The Tools on YouTube:
Verbally Disastrous Podcast- S#2, Episode #49: Just Released Not All Girls Play With Dolls!! on YouTube:
Verbally Disastrous Podcast- S#2, Episode #50: My First 7 Weeks As A Site Safety Manager on YouTube:
I shared my latest short story that has been loaded up to my Construction Tales-Told By A Woman Kindle Vella Library on Amazon. This is short story #11 entitled, “Juggling Motherhood & Working With The Tools”. This short story covers my life as a widowed, single mother in the era when I juggled both motherhood and my career as a journeywoman electrician. I share the various challenges I faced and lessons learned along the way. The previous short story is entitled: #10: “Early Life Lessons & Characters To Meet As An Apprentice”. I decided to write about some life lessons such as guarding your personal information, managing nasty rumors, combating sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and racism. Overall, the construction culture has improved dramatically over the past 25-years. Developing both a thick skin and a sharp tongue are key tools needed to survive various jobsite antics. I hope you learn something from this short story. There are more to come. These short stories are now also available as Verbally Disastrous podcast episodes.
Construction Tales- Told By A Woman: (11) Kindle Vella Short Stories On Amazon!!
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Leslie M. Jasper
-Author And Host of the #VerballyDisastrous podcast now alive on many platforms that include: Acast, Amazon Music, Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Castbox, Deezer, Google Podcasts, I Heart Radio, Listen Notes, Overcast, Pandora Podcasts, Player FM, Pocket Casts, Pod Bean, Podchaser, Podcast Addict, Podcast Gang, Radio Public, Reason, Soundcloud, Soundtrap, Spotify, Stitcher, Tune In, and YouTube.
-The Audio Blog: Verbally Disastrous Podcast And Construction Tales Blog. Now available on: Acast, Amazon Music, Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Castbox, Deezer, Google Podcasts, I Heart Radio, Listen Notes, Overcast, Pandora Podcasts, Player FM, Pocket Casts, Pod Bean, Podchaser, Podcast Addict, Podcast Gang, Radio Public, Reason, Soundcloud, Spotify, Stitcher, and Tune In.
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