In protecting themselves against different dangerous and noxious factors at the workplace, workers are often faced with the necessity of using footwear that puts a significant strain on the human body. Such footwear is frequently not accepted by the users due to wearing discomfort and difficulties with performing one’s tasks efficiently. The paper describes requirements concerning the evaluation of protective footwear functionality and hygiene as well as formulates recommendations for the improvement of these footwear properties. Based on own studies it was observed that the use of appropriate textiles in protective footwear increases its functionality and hygiene.
Foot slippage is the most widespread unforeseen event causing falls on the same level, and a potentially contributing factor to falls from height and falls to a lower level. Statistical data on the number of slip-related accidents at work show the importance of the problem of slipping and indicate the need to continuously improve preventive measures designed to reduce injuries related to slipping, tripping, and falling (STF) on the same level. It is therefore necessary to continuously and insightfully analyze the causes of falls and undertake efforts to eliminate the occurrence of slip- and trip-induced workplace accidents. The occurrence of slips and trips is primarily related to the type and quality of floor surfaces, but it also depends on the biomechanical characteristics of the lower limbs in the transitional phases of walking gait, sole material and tread, human factors such as age, weight, and motor and vision function, the ability to adapt to the floor surface conditions, as well as on a number of factors linked to the workplace environment and work organization. This problem is going to escalate as a result of the higher retirement age, due to which many persons over the age of 60 will have to continue working, often in hazardous conditions.
The study material consisted of two models of protective firefighter footwear. The tests were conducted on subjects in a laboratory using an ergometric treadmill. The parameters of footwear microclimate were continuously recorded using T/RH sensors. For the leather footwear, the highest foot temperature was recorded in the 50th minute of the experiment (35.8°C in the dorsal region and 37.3°C in the plantar region) and for the polymer footwear in the 60th minute of the experiment (35.4°C in the dorsal region and 37.0°C in the plantar region). In the leather footwear, the temperature of the air surrounding the feet rose from 31.0°C to 35.4°C, and then declined, but did not return to the initial level during the rest period. In turn, in the polymer footwear, the temperature rose from 29.0 to 34.7°C, and then decreased to 33.7°C following the rest period. The highest relative air humidity was recorded in the polymer footwear (96.6%), while in the leather footwear it amounted to 91%. Testing the dynamics of the microclimate during footwear use provides complete information about changes in the temperature of the skin of the foot and the temperature and relative humidity of the footwear microclimate.
This study presents the results of an end-of-service life survey involving workers operating in cold environments. The objective of this study was to determine whether the gloves worn in such workplaces were replaced when they exhibited clear signs of mechanical deterioration (rupture, tear, puncture, and perforation) or when they were soaked (externally) or moist (internally). The study sets out to establish whether the appearance of visible signs of damage prompted immediate glove replacement with a view to occupational safety. The calculated Cramér’s V values revealed weak associations between the cause of glove replacement and the frequency of glove change (V=0.201) as well as the mean duration of glove use (V=0.234). Furthermore, it was found that visible signs of mechanical deterioration did not prompt glove replacement. Indeed, workers continued to wear damaged or wet gloves for as many as 5 days or more.
The paper discusses the methods of modification of melt-blown polymer materials by the addition of a bactericidal agent or superabsorbent directly to the fibre-forming area during the melt-blown production process. It also presents tests of textile composites designed for use in selected types of personal protective equipment worn in the workplace. One example of the application of textile composites is the protective footwear insole. The insole composites contain specially developed variants of melt-blown nonwovens made from PP, PC, and PA fibres. Microbiological, hygienic, and mechanical tests have shown that the optimum insoles for all-rubber protective footwear are those made of bioactive composites containing a PC melt-blown nonwoven. Another example of composite application is the air-purifying half mask. Filter composites contain polymer nonwovens with the addition of different quantities of a superabsorbent. They have been tested for particle penetration, airflow resistance, and moisture sorption.
Heated gloves have been gaining popularity due to increasing work safety demands. The objective of the present work was to evaluate the effects of the presence of chemical hand warmers in protective gloves. The study involved three types of gloves appropriate for work activities performed in cold environments. Several hand warmer variants were designed, differing in terms of shape and location within the glove, which are of great relevance to the comfort of use. Manual dexterity tests were designed to approximate real conditions of the work environment, allow for simulation of occupational activities, and involve various aspects of manipulation.