The NRCS and Standards for Safety Footwear

When it comes to the manufacture and production of any personal protective equipment, there are a strict set of standards and requirements in place to ensure the safety of workers in any hazardous environment. 

These standards are monitored and enforced by the NRCS – the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications. The NRCS is an entity of the Department of Trade and Industry, and “administers compulsory specifications, standards, and other technical regulations for the protection of human health and safety, the environment, and ensuring fair trade (in line with government policies and guidelines)’ (via the NRCS website). 

The regulations directly affecting PPE (specifically safety footwear) fall under EN ISO 20345. This defines both basic and additional requirements for safety shoes. 

According to Uvex Safety, ‘footwear in accordance with this standard is intended to protect the wearer against bumps, crushing, falling/rolling objects, walking on pointed or sharp objects, extreme heat or cold, and hot substances’. 

Basic aspects dealt with in this standard include slip resistance, thermal risks, and individual ergonomic properties. Additional standards above and beyond that – relating to footwear used in specific scenarios – can include electrical insulation and protection against chemicals. 

Safety footwear is also divided into different protection classes, depending on their individual uses and the requirements they need to meet. For instance, protection class SB includes shoes that have fulfilled the minimum requirements set out in EN ISO 20345 – while shoes in protection classes S1 to S5 include footwear with additional requirements over and above those in class SB (like increased heat resistance, etc.). 

The basic and additional requirements for both leather and polyurethane shoes include the impact resistance of their toe caps, anti-static, penetration resistance, as well as fuel and water resistance. There are also three compulsory requirements that must be met and labelled in each shoe – SRA, SRB, and SRC.

These codes translate to slip resistance on ceramic tile floors with a sodium lauryl sulfate solution (SRA), slip resistance on steel floors with glycerol (SRB), and a combination of the two (SRC). The conditions that must be met focus on the forward slip on the heel, and the forward slip on a flat surface. 

Additional requirements for special applications covered in EN ISO 20345 include heat insulation, cold insulation, the water resistance of the upper, the heat resistance of the outsole, and the shoe’s overall resistance to oil and petrol. 

The strict adherence to these standards and regulations is essential for the safety of our workforce, no matter the industry. 

At Kaliber, we ensure that each and every one of our products complies perfectly with the terms outlined in this standard. Every single Kaliber shoe is NRCS approved under the EN ISO 20345 regulations. We always have the safety of the worker at heart, and are confident that our products offer only the best in personal safety and protection. 

For a full selection of our safety footwear, view our catalogue on www.kaliberfootwear.co.za