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Work Safety: Protecting Your Feet Against Workplace Injuries

Workers in the heavy industry are at risk of various workplace injuries, including foot injury. The Industrial Safety and Hygiene News (ISHN), citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), says at least 60,000 foot injuries have kept people from work every year. Each lost workday costs companies $9,600.

Such injuries can lead to permanent disabilities. This may put you out of work for a certain time, depending on the extent of damage.

Common Workplace Foot Injuries

According to data, 80 percent of foot injuries occur due to objects weighing 30 pounds or less. These are common because you’re required to lift and work with heavy objects. But foot injuries will vary depending on the kind of workplace you’re in, such as:

  • Construction – this field has the most safety hazards due to the nature of the job. You’re likely to sustain foot injuries from climbing scaffolding or ladders.
  • Transportation – you’re at risk of foot strains and sprains if you’re working in the transportation industry because sitting still for a long time can weaken your foot muscles.
  • Food and retail – working in these industries can give you dry feet, blisters, and bruised toenails due to 12 hours of standing up. It can also trigger bacteria, sweat, and foot odor.

Foot injuries are preventable as long as your employer follows safety recommendations from occupational health organizations. Requiring men and women employees to wear lightweight work boots, for instance, helps to protect their feet.

Choosing the Right Foot Wear in the Workplace

Worker replacing shingles

Employers must create a strategy that reduces the risks of foot injuries in the workplace. Businesses need to identify the relevant hazards at the workplace, and then design facilities and spaces that minimize or eliminate these hazards.

As a worker, you should wear shoes designed for your job. Different jobs come with a unique set of hazards; a firefighter’s footwear will differ from an electrician’s. The more dangerous the job, the more crucial your shoes become. As such, your footwear needs to meet the challenges you face day in and day out. Protective footwear doesn’t completely safeguard you from workplace hazards if it doesn’t have the right features.

Steel toe is a common safety feature protecting workers, particularly those in the industrial sector. It has been tested and trusted for forefoot protection for more than a century. It has a protective reinforcement in the toe, shielding your foot from falling objects. It may also be designed with a midsole plate for punctures from below. This type of footwear is generally safe to use unless the steel does not comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. And it also has to be worn with other personal protective equipment, like gloves and hat.

Employees will be at risk of foot injuries without adequate protection. It’s your employer’s responsibility to provide you with a safe and healthy workplace to minimize your risk. But also be mindful of the hazards in your workplace by following safety protocol and keeping your feet safe at all times.

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