A point of reference in the footwear manufacturing industry for over 30 years, CIMAC, the Italian Centre for Footwear Application Materials, is a fundamental partner for innovation, consulting, monitoring of regulations, analyses and tests, the development of new materials, and quality certifications. An expertise that today has expanded to include other sectors in the world of fashion, like leather goods, fashion accessories and apparel.
An important part of CIMAC’s activities is represented by safety footwear: we spoke of this with Siro Badon, President of Assocalzaturifici, while with Eng. Giuseppe Belotti, technical director of CIMAC, we learned of the latest regulations dictating the segment of safety shoes in particular.
President Badon, what are the services offered by CIMAC to the safety footwear industry?
“Safety and occupational shoes are considered to be personal protective equipment (PPE). CIMAC is accredited by Accredia and authorised by MISE and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs to operate as a Certification Body in granting and maintaining the CE mark.
Our laboratories perform the tests required by the relative legislation to assess the conformity of the PPE seeking to obtain CE marking. After passing the laboratory tests, our certification office examines the technical documentation of the PPE. If also this phase passes the test, the PPE can obtain CE marking. The service is aimed at producers of protective gloves for industrial use (which protect against mechanical, thermal-related, and chemical risks, etc.), but also at gloves to be worn on motorcycles.
In addition to all the tests required for the certification and conservation of the CE marking, in the laboratories of CIMAC we also do quality assurance tests so that producers, retailers, and importers can examine the essential properties of their footwear (or their gloves) along the entire supply chain.
Our vast range of testing allows our customers to be proactive in having their footwear evaluated in all phases of development and production”.
Out of all the footwear tested, what is the importance of safety footwear for CIMAC and what trend is it following?
“The importance is significant considering that we are leaders in Italy in safety footwear as well as a point of reference for national producers, with a clientele that is also by now international. Over the years, we have also grown a lot in the segment of gloves for industrial use with CE marking”.
Eng. Giuseppe Bellotti as far as on-going regulations are concerned, what are the latest changes for the sector of safety footwear?
“The most important change from a regulation standpoint is represented by the revision of the EN ISO 20344/5/6/7 harmonized standards that confer a presumption of conformity with the relevant health and safety requirements expressed by Regulation 2016/425 for safety footwear that protects at the workplace and is intended for professional use. After some years of opposition by Italian experts, the proposal to use the “nail” with a pyramidal shape in the perforation-resistance test for the shoe’s outsole was abandoned because it was unable to guarantee the repeatability and reproducibility of the results. Another important change that emerged under the revision regards the slip-resistance test with testing methods that are now closer to the actual use of the shoes with a part expressly destined for footwear produced in series with the possibility of being adapted to the individual user through the use of a dedicated arch support. We believe the regulation will be completed by t
he end of 2020, allowing it to be subsequently published on the Official Journal of the European Commission. The revision of the above-mentioned regulations will be the starting point for revising all other safety standards like those for firefighters and for protection against chainsaws.
Over the course of the next year, the new regulations for resistance to chemical agents by footwear and footwear for welders and foundries will also be published on the Official Journal of the European Commission.
The revisions do not concern only footwear but also protective gloves: soon to be released are the revisions to the EN 420 standard for gloves and the EN 407 standard for gloves that protect against heat and fire”.