Safety Footwear: Keys to Protect Your Worker's Feet
Foot injuries can be quite painful... and costly. They can sideline a worker or a team and add tremendous cost to your bottom line. Of the 12 million work-related injuries that happen on average each year, the U.S. Department of Labor reports that 10% of those injuries are to the feet and ankles.
These injuries cost businesses an average of five lost work days and a combined $600 million paid in workers' compensation and lost production.
According to the National Safety Council, only one out of four victims of job-related foot injury wear any type of safety shoes or boots. The remaining three are unaware of the benefits of protective footwear. That's surprising considering the advancement of safety footwear in both appearance and function over the past few years.
Some of the most common foot injuries that occur in the workplace include:
Crushed feet, broken bones and loss of toes. These injuries are more common in the construction industry but also can happen in the logging and fishing industry as well.
Puncture wounds to the feet. If nails, staples or even scrap metal is used, this can happen when the proper safety footwear is not worn.
Cuts, lacerations and severed toes are common for those who work with machinery.
Burns can happen from chemicals or hot metal splashes.
Electric shocks are common for electricians and construction workers.
Sprains and fractures can happen in any workplace and are a result of slips, trips and falls.
By providing the proper protective footwear, and training you can prevent these workplace injuries. In fact, it is mandated by OSHA that employers shall ensure that each affected employee uses protective footwear when working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling, or rolling objects, or objects piercing the sole and where employee's feet are exposed to electrical hazards.
To remain compliant and protect the feet of your worker's, you should establish a safety footwear program. This consists of identifying the type of footwear your employees need, ensuring the proper fit and training your employees on the do's and don'ts of foot protection.
Some tips to help identify the proper footwear for your work include:
1) Never purchase safety shoes that do not meet ANSI standards.
2) For slippery environments, choose cleat-designed soles. The softer soles are better for slippery indoor conditions, the harder, more rugged cleat-type sole is recommended for tough outdoor use.
3) The strength of leather covering the foot and ankle is preferred in most work environments. However, when working in wet areas or around chemicals, oils, greases or pesticides, boots made of polyvinyl chloride (PVS) a blend of PVC and polyurethane, or neoprene should be used.
4) Leather soles provide good traction for wood floors, but are not a good option for tile or concrete.
5) Consider footwear that will not only keep employees safe from potential hazards, but will also keep feet warm and dry.
6) Ensure your employees are properly fitted for their footwear so their shoes or boots don't slip, slide or rub the wrong way.
7) When purchasing work shoes or boots, it is important to purchase them from a reputable dealer who handles quality footwear.
Arbill's TruFit safety footwear program streamlines your foot protection needs, and prevents workplace injuries. Rather than having your employees waste time with off site fittings, we set up fitting stations right at your site, ensuring that your employees get the comfortable protection they need, while minimizing downtime.