When you think of workplace injuries your mind probably pictures severe cases such as falling off an elevated surface, confined spaces or hazardous material spills. Most people overlook the minor injuries that occur everyday that can build up over time to become much more serious. Things such as paper cuts, minor burns or especially foot injuries.
Foot injuries, while common and often ignored, can be as significant as other severe injuries. In fact, a lot of lost-time injuries are foot-related.
The importance of foot protection at work is not to be taken lightly given its costly consequences to both the employers and the workers. OSHA stresses the significance of wearing proper footwear protection and they require certain standards to be implemented by employers.
According to OSHA 1910.136, employers must ensure that every employee has access to protective footwear when working in areas with potential dangers.
Examples of potential foot injuries at work:
- Blisters, arthritis, calluses, sprains
- Electrical shocks on the feet
- Broken bones
- Crushed or amputations of the toe or feet
- Fungal infection
Foot injuries, like many other common injuries, aren’t always severe in the moment. A lot of the time, continuous minor injuries can build up to cause serious long lasting conditions.
For example, sales personnel standing for a long period of time may experience severe aching on their feet and legs. Constant exposure to humid environment can grow fungal infection on the foot. Wearing inappropriate footwear can cause blisters and calluses in several days.
Examples of foot hazards at work:
- High voltage
- No warning signs on floors and open-ended spaces
- Wet and hot work environment
- Exposure to chemicals
- Unguarded equipment or machinery
- Poor lighting along pathways
- Slippery floors
Implementation of foot safety is crucial to avoid any means of injuries while at work. While it is the primary responsibility of employers to implement safety procedures to workers, it is also ideal for workers to be more careful at work and be accountable for the safety of others, as well.
While foot injuries may be a possibility at work, it can be prevented or minimized once proper safety procedure is implemented. Employers can reevaluate their safety policies if injuries are increasing. It is also important for workers to be trained in first aid training concerning the handling of foot injuries as well as how to avoid the causes of accidents.
Tips on how to avoid foot injuries at work:
- Ensure that workers are wearing protective footwear every time they go to work. Footwear must comply with the standard procedures. Strict compliance must be implemented.
- Create an adjustable workspace that allows the feet to rest comfortably on the floor whole at work. Workspaces must allow changes in body positions.
- Rotation of job responsibilities among workers can help minimize long-standing and tedious body positions. Varied job responsibilities can help in frequent changing of body movements.
- Safety signs must be implemented in risky areas to prevent slips, falls and trips.
- Checking of work equipment prior to the actual work can ensure safety of foot from cuts.
- Maintenance of cleanliness in the workplace can avoid loose nails, sharp objects and other materials, which can cause punctures on the feet.