Our feet are one of the most used, yet underappreciated parts of the body. If you really sit down and think about it, most people spend a lot of time on their feet especially if they are employed in work positions which require constant bodily movement such as in construction, manufacturing, auto repair, etc. However, what do we really do to take care of and protect our feet? I’m not suggesting to have every construction worker head in for a weekly foot massage and pedicure, but instead I’m talking about foot protection. When a foot or both feet become injured, the results can be extremely disabling, especially if the employee works in a physical work position.
Safety Footwear – An Obvious, Yet underused Method of Protection
OSHA mandates that employers need to ensure that their employees are wearing adequate protective footwear when working in any area where foot injuries may occur. Unfortunately, there are still many businesses that overlook OSHA’s recommendation and just tell their employees to go out and find some good footwear that they think will protect their feet. Honestly, this is a recipe for disaster. Employees are usually not skilled to the level of a safety footwear specialist and can easily become swayed by the style of a shoe versus its ability to protect the feet. Instead, employers should be assisting with the selection of safety footwear by bringing in a specific safety footwear specialist to help each and every employee choose the appropriate safety footwear based on his or her job position.
Common Causes of Work-Related Foot Injuries
The causes of work-related foot and ankle injuries can often be separated in two different groups.
1. Injuries stemming from sprains, lacerations, crushing, and punctures.
These types of injures can often be avoided by utilizing appropriate safety footwear that is equipped with steel toes or puncture resistant soles. For instance, there are certain types of safety footwear that have been created just for the purpose of dispelling punctures.
2. Injuries resulting from a trip, slip, or fall.
There is really very little difference between trips, slips, and falls. In the end the pain is nearly always the same. However, these types of accidents can often be avoided by choosing the appropriate safety footwear. When there are conditions present in the workplace which contribute towards trips, slips, or falls you want to make sure to choose footwear which features slip-resistant gripping. Furthermore, it is also important to make sure that the footwear fits appropriately. If footwear is too big and allows for too much play between the actual foot and shoe, it becomes an additional safety risk.
Foot Injuries are a Lose-Lose Situation for Everyone
When an employee becomes injured with a foot injury while on the job, there are many negative effects. For example, there will be losses in productivity, added workers compensation costs, a loss in quality of life for the employee, and since foot injuries usually keep an employee off his or her feet for extended amounts of time the employee will usually miss quite a bit of work.
In order to help keep your employees feet safe while on the job it is imperative that the right safety footwear be selected and utilized at all times.