A pioneer in footwear safety

The journey of Blundstone’s rise to the pinnacle of workplace safety footwear has been characterised by decades of innovation, consultation and research. Safe to Work writes.

The harsh Australian landscape, with its extreme weather fluctuations that range from sweltering heat to icy winds, makes the country’s inhabitants vulnerable to health and safety risks.

Add this to a typical mine site environment, where heavy machinery spits out chemicals and materials by the second, and it can be a dangerous mix.

One of the keys to maintaining staff safety at mine sites is ensuring clothing can withstand the rigours of a variety of conditions.

Since 1870, safety boots supplier Blundstone has capitalised on its specialised knowledge of the Australian landscape, having been owned and operated in Tasmania for nearly 150 years.

The combination of local understanding, constant innovation and a global supply chain means the company is in a unique position to capture the Australian mining market.

Blundstone’s ability to tap into a plethora of ideas, materials and designs across its international network has enabled it to create a wide range of products suitable for different environments.

The company’s boots are now synonymous with work sites around the country, protecting staff against impact and penetration, chemicals, heat, rolling force and other foreign stimuli.

Mine sites are increasingly turning to Blundstone’s #980 mining-specific boot, given the footwear has been developed directly alongside those working at mining operations, allowing the company to gain insight into the environment the boots must withstand.

Underground mines require protective apparel due to the exposure to harsh conditions. Image: Blundstone


As such, the company’s designers were able to create a purpose-built boot that stands up against the toughest of conditions and subsequently make it a pioneer in how mining companies are approaching the reduction of safety risks.

The #980 has attracted plenty of attention and been recognised with awards, including the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences award and best in category (product design-commercial and industrial) at the coveted Good Design Awards – Australia’s oldest and most prestigious award for design and innovation.

Judges of Good Design Awards 2015 say, “the 980 Underground Mining Boot represents a true understanding of the end user. This is design excellence in every regard. For a project to be recognised at this level means without doubt, it is the best of its kind in the world.”

The comments highlight Blundstone as a market leader in work and safety footwear and as such, place the company in a unique position to offer advice regarding footwear over a number of industries and environments.

For increased heat resistance, Blundstone recommends a safety boot with a sole that is manufactured to withstand up to 300 degrees Celsius (in the surface temperatures the boots will be standing on) and can provide slip resistance. The sole should be resistant to cuts, abrasion, oil, acid and organic fat.

Blundstone recommends mining companies look for heavy duty tread patterns, which enhance stability in muddy, rugged and outdoor conditions, due to their ability to self-clean and naturally dislodge small rocks and dirt.

Additionally, a superior thermal regulating lining such as bamboo is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, breathable, quick-drying and deodorising. This is imperative to ensure long-term foot health, according to Blundstone.

While the company’s history is rich and its global reach is profound – currently selling to over 50 countries across five continents – Blundstone continues to retain its Tasmanian roots as it supports the safety of miners both at home and abroad.

This article also appears in the Oct–Dec edition of Safe to Work.

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