Features, Personal protective equipment, Safety events and incidents, Work health and safety

Stomp out hazards

KAMU safety footwear founder Lusy Hartanu discusses how the right boots can help avoid some of the most common hazards on a mine site. 

When it comes to Australian mine sites, dangers can come in many forms. 

Some of those hazards are associated with the operations themselves, such as collision and hearing damage, while others, like heat stroke, punctures and slips, are by-products of the environment. 

Because the risks on a mine are as present as they are varied, the best way to stay safe is to stay vigilant. Safety experts at KAMU are helping miners do just that with the company’s line of fatigue-fighting safety footwear. 

“Fatigue is a silent but significant hazard on a mine site. It can come about from ill-fitting footwear, causing discomfort and distraction from the job at hand,” KAMU founder and global head of sales Lusy Hartanu told Safe to Work. “When workers are fatigued, their concentration wanes, increasing the risk of accidents.

“Physical fatigue, especially in the legs, can lead to chronic pain in the feet and knees, as well as long-term issues in the hips and lower back.

“Reducing worker fatigue is such a crucial factor in hazard prevention. Companies can empower their workforce by selecting the right safety boots to match various work environments and risks.”

Through intelligent footwear design, KAMU safety boots are helping to keep the mining industry energised and alert. 

“KAMU footwear has a four-layer sole design with an added anti-fatigue layer of Infingery by BASF. This layer returns energy with every step,” Hartanu said.

“This technology, renowned for use in top-performance running shoes, offers a remarkable 57 per cent return on the energy put into each step. It not only keeps workers safe but also helps them reclaim spent energy, comfortably powering them through the day. 

“The better you feel in your skin, the more alert and focused you can perform your work. 

“Fatigue reduction contributes to heightened alertness and better decision-making, critical in avoiding accidents.”

KAMU footwear offers lightweight and breathable styles, keeping workers comfortable on and off the job site.

This marriage between safety and wellbeing is the philosophy on which KAMU has built its brand. 

“By wearing boots that reduce fatigue and enhance alertness, workers are not just guarding against hazards – they are actively participating in a safer, more productive future,” Hartanu said. 

In addition to powering workers through the day, KAMU safety boots are a frontline defence against many of the hazards found on a site.  

“KAMU boots are designed to provide comprehensive protection against crush and puncture injuries,” Hartanu said. “Whether people opt for steel or composite toe caps, both options shield against impact and compression hazards.

“Additionally, workers can opt for puncture-resistant midsoles for extra protection against hidden hazards on the ground – and that’s just covering the basics. 

“At KAMU, we look at how the finer design details can play a role in safety. For example, our women’s footwear is tailored specifically to the female foot anatomy, providing greater comfort and, what is most important, with a better fit comes greater safety.  

“In addition, our boots have a reinforced boot waist and outer midsole line that provides stronger protection to the instep and plantar area of the foot.”

KAMU boots are also a bastion against the heat often faced on a mine site. 

“KAMU has a range of models that were specifically developed for mining, with nitrile rubber soles that are heat resistant up to 300°C, ensuring workers are protected from hot surfaces and substances,” Hartanu said.

Protecting against heat is as much about heat resistance as it is about keeping cool, and that’s why KAMU boots are engineered with comfort technologies. 

“The parts of the body that emit the most heat are the hands and the feet, and there are more sweat glands per inch in our feet than anywhere else in the body. This is why we put a strong focus on climate comfort,” Hartanu said.

“KAMU footwear incorporates materials like Coolmax, which enhances breathability and helps moisture evaporate, keeping the feet cool and dry. This not only reduces the risk of blisters, but also prevents heat stress – another big fatigue-related safety hazard.”

According to Safe Work Australia, there were roughly 30,000 trip, slip and fall injuries in the country in 2022, making this type of injury the second most common in the workplace behind body stressing. 

KAMU addresses this common hazard in the construction of its footwear, which are slip-resistant in excess of SRC standards. An SRC rating means the boots are laboratory-tested to be resistant on ceramic, sodium lauryl sulphate, steel and glycerol surfaces. 

Energy-return midsoles help fight fatigue, sore feet and stress to the lower back.

“KAMU’s specialty mining boots have excellent slip resistance, featuring outsoles with pronounced lugs,” Hartanu said. 

“In addition, we incorporate an angled sole design and profile at the heel. This feature provides exceptional traction when the heel strikes the ground, provides better stability, and reduces the risk of slips on various terrains encountered in mining operations.”

Laboratory-designed and field-tested, KAMU safety footwear is as high-tech as it comes. But the company is always looking for ways to further develop its products.

“The company has a strong focus on research and development, collaborating with experts across Australia, Germany, and Indonesia,” Hartanu said.

“KAMU’s dedication to marry safety with wellbeing means that we will continue to refine and enhance our boots to meet the evolving needs of workers in the mining and other industries.”

Through a raft of intelligent safety and fatigue-fighting features, KAMU is helping keep workers energised and safe from hazards. 

“We make it our mission to help prevent hazardous situations from the ground up,” Hartanu said.

“Our boots transcend traditional safety measures, playing an integral role in enhancing overall well-being and fighting fatigue to help prevent hazardous situations.” 

Visit KAMU’s website for more information.

This feature also appears in the November-December issue of Safe to Work.

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