Helmets, ear protection, eye protection are all important. However, safety managers must ensure foot protection is a priority too.
The foot is susceptible to many dangers at a jobsite. OHSA warns of punctures, crushing, sprains, slips, trips and falls. Feet can also be injured from electrocution, chemical burns and frostbite.
Shoes or boots that offer protection from hazards should be worn as necessary. Protective footwear features include insulation to protect from heat and cold, and outer coating to isolate from chemicals. Special soles are designed to protect from electrical shock, or provide traction in wet or icy environments. Steel toes protect from falling objects.
Feet are often overlooked in the workplace, but since workers spend so much time on their feet, they also need to be considered.
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Dan Clark: Hello there again, I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief. This is where we talk about health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites.
Your feet! Your foot! Foot protection often gets overlooked in the workplace. Maybe because it’s the body part that’s farthest away from your own eyes. However, a foot injury can be painful and debilitating and can result in time away from work.
Now, there are two categories of foot injuries according to OSHA:
#1. From punctures, crushing, sprains and lacerations.
#2. Those caused by slips, trips and falls.
Other common foot injuries include:
-Electrocution, from cords running on the ground.
-Chemical burns, from spilled chemicals that soak through shoes.
-Frostbite, when working outside or in cold storage.
How do you protect your feet? Selecting the right footwear:
#1. For electrical hazards – a protective sole. It’s a specially man-made sole and heel to keep electricity away from the foot.
#2. Chemical resistance. These are, typically, shoes made from a tough synthetic material like rubber or vinyl to keep the foot isolated from seepage.
#3. Insulation. This is special footwear to protect from the cold. Also, insulated socks can help. Remember, cotton—when wet—loses its heating properties. Wool does not.
#4. High traction soles. Now, these are good for wet places and snow boots may be better for icy conditions.
#5. Steel toe boots. A strong toe helps protect feet from falling objects.
Just remember that prevention is the key to foot safety. Show the employees what risks are there in your workplace and how to avoid them, and provide carts and other tools to help workers move heavy objects.
Well, that’s it for this episode. Come back for more tips and techniques on how to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, sponsored by Creative Safety Supply. See the website at creativesafetysupply.com
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