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Anti-Static Footwear

Discussion in 'General Issues and Discussion Forum' started by Mark Egan, Jul 14, 2006.

  1. Mark Egan

    Mark Egan Active Member

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    Hi To All,

    For those of us in Australia you will be aware that this year's foot health week (FHW) theme in October is "Workplace injuries can cripple your business - Protect Your Feet at Work".

    Using this theme I have been able to make contact with an industry which has the requirement for antistatic footwear for all workers. My knowledge of this area is limited although Steel Blue has been very helpful in providing more information on this specific equipment. I am hoping someone else has already been involved with working in this area of footwear and can provide me with more information i.e. the use of orthotics and inserts in relationship to antistatic footwear.

  2. LuckyLisfranc

    LuckyLisfranc Well-Known Member


    The use of anti-static footwear involves issues related to the materials involved particularly in the soles (and sometimes the upper), to prevent the collection and dissapation of electrical potential between the user and the workplace.

    This is important in industries such as computers/IT support where small amounts of electrical charge transmitted into a piece of circuit can "fry" the equipment.

    The bottom line is you can put anything you like INSIDE the shoes to your hearts content, as the circuit is 'broken' by the shoe and its interface with the floor. Hence, no issue with orthoses.

    hope this helps,

  3. Mark Egan

    Mark Egan Active Member


    Thanks for the speedy reply, following on from discussions with the WHS officer at the site and discussions with the tech guys at Steel Blue they have stated that anyhting added to the shoe requires antistatic treatment. Steel Blue indicated that this involves the "application of conductive thread in a zig-zag pattern on the widest part of the orthotic" to make it anti-static. Any thoughts on this?

  4. drcornelison

    drcornelison Welcome New Poster

    Practicing in the Silicon Valley, within a stone's throw of chip manufacturers Intel and AMD, I have come across this issue on several occasions. Many "clean room" employees develop plantar fasciitis and other plantar-surface problems, which may be at least partially attributable to the metal grid surfaces they must walk on.

    My patients have done well with posted polypropylene orthoses -- I have not had anyone return to me telling me the device had to be anti-static itself. However, an important fact is that an orthotic worn in outside shoegear cannot be imported on a daily basis into the clean room -- they must remain in the anti-static shoes. Essentially, this means your patients should plan on having two pairs made, if it is your intention that they wear orthoses during non-work activities as well. When it comes to cases where the employer sent the patient to me (worker's compensation cases), there never seems to be an issue with the insurance picking-up the cost of the second pair. The same cannot be said when this is pursued through private health insurance.

    As far as the shoes go, I've been hard-pressed to find specialty work shoes, specifically anti-static and no-slip shoes for the food industry, that put any concern into foot function and support. This is particularly true in the no-slip shoes, where companies like "Shoes for Crews" produce a ton of knock-off shoes with slip-resistant surfaces that look very much like supportive name-brand shoes but offer no stability whatsoever in the heel counter or midsole. If anyone has any experiences with similar shoes that do, I'm all ears.

    Michael Cornelison, DPM, FACFAS
    Cupertino, CA
  5. Mark Egan

    Mark Egan Active Member


    Why can they not use orthotics from outside shoes? static build up?

    I have spoken to a footwear provider in Australia who has informed me that orthotics put into antistatic shoes require "application of conductive thread in a zig-zag pattern on the widest part of the orthotic which makes it antistatic" Does this sound familiar?

  6. drcornelison

    drcornelison Welcome New Poster

    It's my understanding that clean room workers don jumpsuits and shoegear held in a stepdown room, free of contaminants (and I'd assume static) from outside. To be honest, I was surprised to hear this myself after the first clean-room employee I casted told me she was not allowed to remove her orthoses from her work shoes, aside from bringing them to me for her office visits. Short of taking a tour myself (which I'd like to do), that's about as much info as I have to go on.

    As for the need for conductive thread, that seems to be of no concern at least to the AMD company, whose sent several patients to me for orthoses. LL's explanation that the "circuit is broken" makes sense to me. I'm unaware of any similar with undergarments or other clothing worn under the jumpsuits. I am quite curious about Steel Blue's notion, however.

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