Electrical Standards Explained | Electrical Hazard (EH), Anti-Static & Electrostatic Dissipative (ESD) Safety Boots

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Electrical hazard (EH) rated safety boots

V12 Footwear electrical hazard

Electrical hazard (EH) rated safety boots are ISOLATING safety boots, meaning they provide a secondary source of protection from certain types of electric shocks or electrocution. 

If a safety boot is marked 'EH,' wearing them does not mean you will be fully protected from electrocution, and are not suitable for carrying out live electrical work. Read on to find out why. 

An EH boot's sole is made from non-conductive materials so electrical charges don't pass through the body, as the wearer is isolated from the ground. EH rated safety boots are tested by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and is not an EN ISO 20345 standard.

Important! Safety boots marked EH are not meant to be the main source of protection in an electrical hazard environment. The HSE have said the following about potential misconceptions over EH boots and their ability to prevent electrocution:

"Footwear tested to this (the EH) Standard is NOT SUITABLE for live electrical working. These may be suitable for use in environments where there is potential for accidental exposure to alternating current (AC) voltages not exceeding 600V AC. EH footwear will not offer protection from electric shock if the outer sole has been penetrated by a nail or other sharp object and therefore should not be marked with claims of perforation resistance."

Find out more about EH footwear and what level of protection from electrocution it offers in our blog here

Main causes of electrical injury or electrocution

Electric contact can occur in many ways and situations including:

  • Defective or damaged tools or badly maintained equipment
  • Inadequate wiring and improper grounding 
  • Unsafe work practices or environments 
  • Unexpected exposure to electric parts
  • Overloaded circuits and improper insulation 
  • Contact with overhead power lines or high voltage circuits


Anti-static and ESD footwear

While EH footwear directly protects the person, anti-static and ESD footwear is designed ultimately to protect the electrical equipment the person is using - but this does protect the user because faulty electrical equipment can cause shocks and electrocution. But the difference between anti-static and ESD can cause a lot of confusion. While one includes the other, it’s incorrect to say the reverse is true. Although both terms refer to contact resistance, there is a big difference between the two.

V12 Footwear - anti-staticAnti-static

Anti-static safety boots have an electrical resistance between 0.1 and 1000 megaohms (MΩ) measured according to EN ISO 20344: 2011 5.10.

Anti-static footwear prevents a build-up of static electrical charges in the human body by sending these charges to the ground.

They are designed to protect sensitive electrical equipment from damage caused by a static shock, charge or spark, but also can provide protection to the wearer when working in potentially explosive atmospheres.

V12 Footwear ESD


ESD (Electro Static Dissipative) safety boots have an electrical resistance between 0.1 and 100 MΩ, measured according to BS EN IEC 61340-4-3:2018. ESD footwear has a very low electrical resistance in order to prevent a strong, uncontrolled electrostatic charge.

This means ESD footwear has the same job and benefit as anti-static footwear, but because ESD footwear has a lower resistance range, it's the more stringent version of the two. (remember, its resistance range is between 0.1 and 100 megaohms compared to anti-static's range of 0.1 and 1000 megaohms) So, because ESD shoes meet standards that are stricter, they are more effective at reducing static charges.


Wearing ESD and anti-static footwear is crucial when working in environments where there is a risk of shocks from static charges which can cause electrical equipment to be damaged.

So this might include workplaces that manufacture electronic components, or environments where static electricity is generated by machines or appliances. Industries where static charges might be in existence around explosive elements such as fuel vapour, coal dust or gas might also require the wearing of ESD or anti-static footwear.

It’s important to note that it's highly improbable that you'll be made responsible for judging whether you require anti-static or ESD footwear by whoever employs you. They're the ones who will have the appropriate knowledge of which type of electrostatic footwear you'll need to have based on the hazards and particular equipment in your work setting. 

"I will never wear anything else. An 18 hour day in these is a pleasure, even light enough to making driving easy. Slip into them like my favourite pair of slippers while affording all the safety required of this type of footwear. Big plus is not having to take them off at the airport."

Phillip Walker | on the anti-static Pitstop trainer

Are you looking for safety boots with one or all of the above safety standards? Check out our award winning safety trainer and hiker range by clicking the button below!