Foot injuries and foot discomfort at work will lower the productivity at the job and the quality of life of the employees. The main types of foot injuries which can occur at work are: toe or metatarsal crushing, punctures, lacerations, sprains and rolled ankles. The other main types of risks for injuries at work are due to slippages, falls and tripping.
Inappropriate or ill-fitting work shoes can lead to fatigue, soreness and can cause painful chronic heel foot and leg conditions, which will cause the worker to lose their concentration and can affect the performance and wellbeing of the person suffering from pain or discomfort at work.
There are a number of factors which affect the safety and comfort of the feet of the people at work, so a number of various things can be done for the improvement of the safety and comfort, such as:
- Frequent quick rest breaks for people who work standing up all day long
- Investing in suitable flooring, which is no too hard or slippery
- Staying away from ill-fitting shoes, as well as high heels or pointed toes when at work
- Making an assessment of the possible risks at the particular workplace and for the specific jobs being done, and developing a strategy for reducing and eliminating that risk is crucial
- Improved work design which includes more different movements of different body parts, ,differing tasks and duties which will keep the employee from standing in the same position all day will greatly improve the health and comfort of the feet
- Adding adjustable work surfaces at work will help every person adjust their own workspace in accordance to their height and comfort
- Ensuring sufficient space for the employee to switch body positions while at work also helps
- Adding a foot rest or foot rail can help alleviate the strain on the feet, as the worker can use it to rest one foot and shift the body weight to the other from time to time
- Adding warning signs and markings, as well as proper safety measures for dangerous machines and tools is crucial
- Anti-fatigue matting or softer flooring is gentler on the feet
- wearing anti-fatigue insoles that are made for standing all day
For added safety and better comfort, it is crucial that the proper and comfortable footwear is worn at work.
If the work requires wearing protective gear and safety work boots, the employer should ensure that all employees are aware of the requirements and are wearing the proper type of rated safety shoes.
If the job doesn’t require the use of protective footwear, there are still some things to keep in mind when choosing proper shoes for work, so that you are comfortable and safe, such as: they must fit well, they should provide proper arch support, cushioning, shock absorption, and should have sufficient toe space and at the same time provide a safe and comfortable grip of the heel when trying on shoes, always do it after work or in the evening when are legs tend to be swollen and at their largest size.
It is recommended that you wear leather and canvas rather than synthetic shoes for work, and make sure your socks are not too tight or too big for your feet.
Also, daily washing and care for the feet and proper toenail care can improve the health and comfort of the feet.
The use of shock absorbing insoles and foot powder can also help.
People who work in cold conditions should wear insulated shoes, insulating undergarments, or insulating muffs or overshoes to keep the feet safe from frostbite.