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ANSI Committee on Protective Footwear Merges into ASTM Committee on Safety and Traction for Footwear

ANSI Z41 Committee on Personal Protection-Protective Footwear has merged into ASTM International Committee F13 on Safety and Traction for Footwear. This agreement among ASTM International, the American National Standards Institute, and the National Safety Council officially dissolves Z41 as an ANSI Committee and enables Committee F13 to undertake the oversight and distribution of the former ANSI Z41 performance requirements and test method, Standard for Personal Protection-Protective Footwear. The 1999 version of the Z41 standard has been withdrawn in light of the pending publication of the ASTM standards that will supersede it.

Z41 performance standards for safety footwear have been an important part of worker safety since 1967. Since the inception of the Z41 standard, first developed to guard against toe injuries, additional performance requirements and test methods have been developed and now include protection for areas of the foot including the metatarsal toe and foot bottom. The standard also includes protective requirements and test methods for electric shock resistant, conductive, static dissipative and dielectric footwear as well as protective footwear for use with chain saws. For more than 35 years the performance requirements contained in the Standard for Personal Protection-Protective Footwear have been referenced within U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration 1910 guidelines for worker safety.

The first ASTM protective footwear standards that will be promulgated under F13 will be based on the withdrawn ANSI Z41 standard, and are expected to be available in late 2004 or early 2005. Current drafts undergoing balloting in ASTM F13 (within Subcommittee F13.30 on Footwear) are built upon the upper class 50 and class 75 toe protection performance requirements.

WK4519, Specification for Personal Protective Footwear, and
WK4520, Performance Test Methods for Personal Protective Footwear.

The new standards are based on the ANSI Z41 1999 standard with minimal technical changes; minor changes include the removal of Class 30 for impact and compression requirements along with subtle adjustments to portions of the methodology. Therefore, the majority of existing industry inventory of product and product-information that is labeled or advertises compliance with the ANSI Z41 1999 standard should be compliant with the first generation ASTM standards noted above. However, manufacturers will have to review the new documents to ensure such compliance. After the publication of the standards, the future labeling of such items should indicate compliance with ASTM Fxxxx-yy (i.e., an assigned number and publication year such as F 9876-05, for example).

Committee F13 meets Jan. 24-25, 2005, during the January Committee Week in Atlanta, Ga. For further questions regarding the transfer of Z41 to ASTM F13 and the safety footwear documents that are being developed, contact Daniel Schultz, ASTM International (phone: 610/832-9716). //

Copyright 2004, ASTM International