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A guide to foot care at work


When you’re using PPE footwear and active throughout the day, it’s important to make sure you get the right footwear and take care of your feet too. Here’s our guide


Foot injuries at work might commonly be associated with falls, punctures or cuts, or otherwise, slips and trips. But it is also important to remember other conditions such as calluses, ingrown toenails or simply tired feet that are common among workers.


These conditions are not only unpleasant health issues, they can also cause fatigue and such discomfort they cause accidents through misbalance, or misfooting, for example. A worker who is distracted by foot pain may be less alert and more likely to have an accident.

This guide looks at how to take care of your feet in the workplace to reduce all of these risks.


Choosing the right footwear

Key components to look for in footwear are comfort, flexibility and traction. It’s important not to prioritise one at the expense of the others as while it is easy to see how slippery or rigid boots might cause a fall, equally discomfort can cause accidents too.


Traction -- check the sole

Is there a good tread or grooves in the sole pattern and is it made from anti-slip material? Deeper grooves will be useful in wet or muddy conditions and good grip is especially important if you are using ladders or steps often.


Strong but light?

It is of course important that footwear has a toe cap to prevent damage to your feet if something falls on or strikes the top of your shoe. But also check if the soles are strong and protective if you stand on something sharp. In addition, the best quality PPE footwear is also lightweight, to give you freedom of movement and improve comfort.



Waterproof?

There are few things worse than wet feet and these can also lead to health conditions such as fungal infections. Making sure that shoes are both waterproof, but also breathable so they allow sweat to evaporate is important.


Ankle protection

If your work is very active and involves climbing and landing, does your footwear offer good ankle protection?


Heat resistant?


Some PPE manufacturers offer footwear that can withstand high temperatures, often an important safety feature.


Toe protection:

Does the footwear conform to the EN ISO 20345:2011 safety standard?


The https://www.iso.org/standard/51036.html">EN ISO 20345:2011 Personal Protective Equipment – Safety Footwear


standard is the most up to date safety footwear standard and it sets the following minimum safety  requirements:


Toe protection to a standard of 200-joules impact-resistance (equivalent to a 20kg weight dropped 1,020mm onto the toes)


15KN compression (equivalent to 1.5 tonnes resting on the toe area).


Foot Health

Foot conditions that can be caused or worsened by poor footwear or working conditions include: Blisters, calluses, corns, fallen arches (flat feet), bunions, sprains.

These conditions can be made worse or caused by long periods of standing, hard, unyielding flooring and poorly fitted footwear that are too loose, tight, or do not provide arch support.


Solutions

Making sure the boot fits

These are the signs of well-fitting footwear.

Your heel should be gripped firmly but there should be room to move your toes.

Your foot should not slip backwards and forward when working.

Your heel should not be lower than the ball of your foot.

Feet are usually slightly different in size, so buy shoes to fit the bigger foot, ideally in the late afternoon when feet have swollen slightly to their biggest size.


Rotation of tasks or shifts so workers do not have to spend such long periods of time can be helpful. In addition, adding in tasks that involve sitting or using different body positions which rest the feet can help. Regular rest breaks and also having teams designed so that one individual can switch with another are also important in planning teams and roles.


Workplace design

Adjustable work surfaces can help as can foot rails or footrests and simply providing seats on-site so workers can just take the weight off their feet for brief periods.


When it comes to flooring, adding coverings that add cushioning such as cork, carpeting, or rubber can help. Where this is not possible insoles are a possible option.


Anti-slip flooring in some spaces is also a good option, but workers who are walking or standing on this often may find insoles helpful as it stops the foot from sliding suddenly inside the footwear when the anti-slip material suddenly stops the base of the shoe from moving.

For further information, contact our team who have great experience and can help advise on the best options for your business. Call 01726 74264 or email sales@cisafety.com and we’ll be happy to provide information and advice to help you.


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