One of the most utilized parts of our bodies are often the least protected, particularly in the workplace. Often taken for granted, our feet are used practically every day, yet are normally provided inadequate protection against workplace hazards. Proper footwear is very important; it promotes better productivity and helps protect workers from any potential injury.
Types of Footwear Needed for Work Sites
Different types of footwear protect from different injuries. As such, certain footwear is recommended depending on your occupation:
- Punctures. Heavy duty soles are the best protection for jobs where potentially sharp objects can puncture or pierce your foot. Shoes or boots made of thick materials help protect from punctures from above.
- Cutting hazards. Many occupations involve heavy machinery use, such as chainsaws or woodchippers, and they pose many cutting hazards to workers. Many loggers, for instance, wear logging boots during work, which are made from materials that are cut-resistant and waterproof or water repellant.
- Falling objects. Falling objects are a threat in almost every industry, especially when products are stored overhead, or machines and people are moving at once. Steel toe boots prevent feet from being injured or crushed by falling objects.
- Electrical hazards. Not only are there shock hazards from faulty electrical outlets or wiring, but also workers face additional hazards when accumulating static electricity, which could start fires in certain conditions. There are shoes that have non-conductive characteristics designed from rubber or leather that does not conduct electricity, thus preventing electrical accidents. There is conductive footwear with anti-static materials that reduce static and prevent electrical sparks.
- Slip and fall accidents. Slips and falls are the most common workplace accident every year and is a threat in just about any work environment. Proper footwear equipped with good traction help provide additional protection, as well as well-maintained flooring. Shoes with good traction work well not only on slippery floors, but also on other surfaces where they are needed, such as ladders.
- Burns. Footwear made from durable, anti-flame materials protect not only from fire burns, but also from chemical burns, molten metal, or other hazardous substances.
- Fatigue. Fatigue is a major concern for many workers regardless of industry. Retail workers or those who stand all day on hard surfaces experience fatigue easily, which weaken the muscles in the legs, backs, and shoulders. There are many shoes that are designed to prevent fatigue, equipped with cushioning and arch support that provide a more comfortable workday.
- Extreme weather. The winter weather poses many risks, but frostbite and hypothermia are very dangerous and should be protected against. Employees need to wear warm and protective boots or shoes, especially those that work outside or in refrigerated work areas.
Before each workday, be sure to check your shoes for cracks or holes, and that the sole is not separating from the shoe itself. Any damage to the shoe diminishes its protective characteristics, and broken-down shoes are not comfortable and can further cause an injury.
Each pair of work footwear has a code on the shoes that identifies what they protect against, such as those with steel toe tips or flame retardant materials. ASTM International supplies information on these codes or ratings and informs you what hazards the footwear is certified against. Before you go to work next, check the code in your shoes, sometimes located in the tongue of the shoe, to see if you are wearing the appropriate footwear for your job.
Downingtown Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC Help Employees Suffering from Foot Injuries
If you have suffered a foot injury at work, you may be entitled to compensation. Reach out to the Downingtown workers’ compensation lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC. Our legal team has years of experience with these types of cases and looks forward to helping you. Contact us online or call us at 610-594-1600 for a free consultation today. We are located in Exton, Pennsylvania, where we serve clients throughout Downingtown, West Chester, Exton, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchlan Township, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.