Research programme on soling safety -- K Trade Fair


Research programme on soling safety

The dedicated footwear team at Huntsman Polyurethanes has been working closely alongside German company Heinrich Klumpen Söhne GmbH & Co. KG (HKS). Together the two companies have combined their expertise to conduct a comprehensive industry-wide analysis of slip-resistance technologies, focusing specifically on footwear soles. From their findings the partners have created a complete set of best practice guidelines for the design and development of safety footwear soles that meet the highest international standards and deliver better safety performance in a range of workplace environments.[image_0] Slip prevention is a major challenge throughout industry. According to the UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE) slip and trip injuries were the most commonly reported incident during 2012/2013 accounting for three in every ten accident reports [1]. Often slips can be caused by footwear that has insufficient grip, exposing employees to risk and employers to big costs and legal consequences. Currently, manufacturers of safety footwear must prove that the slip resistance of their shoes and boots conforms to the EN ISO 13287 standard. This can mean calling in additional expertise to ensure that the correct material and sole design combinations are used. Some common misconceptions about footwear soles prevail. Many people believe that softer soles improve slip resistance. However, in some conditions, they can actually increase risk. In dry environments sole softness can help to improve grip but it is well known that preventing slips in wet environments requires far more attention. Here, harder materials can be beneficial but only if the design of the sole has been considered carefully. The new study offers definitive guidance on how manufacturers can ensure that their footwear is precisely optimised for the conditions where they will be worn. Johan Van Dyck, Footwear Platform Manager at Huntsman, said: "Workplace safety is paramount, yet all too often it is compromised by inadequate footwear. Together with our partners we took a holistic approach, investigating how different soling materials can be adapted for different workplace conditions. This included scrutinising soling designs - something that's equally as important as the material choices made. By combining our expertise our intention is to advance sector knowledge of slip resistance dynamics, set new quality standards and raise awareness across the footwear industry about best practice.” Each of the two partners brings a complementary strength to the programme: Huntsman Polyurethanes, with a broad portfolio of polyether and polyester-based solutions available, is contributing its technical expertise in advanced polyurethane materials and providing access to its European footwear development centre in Belgium.Heinrich Klumpen Söhne will produce prototype models and run performance tests. The family-owned company, which has been working with Huntsman for more than ten years, manufacturers premium professional safety shoes with a strong focus on innovation and quality. [1]