Keep Your Toes Safe From Harm When You Wear Steel Toed or Capped Work Boots
We don’t think enough about how to best protect our feet, though we’re often on them for good portions of the day in uncomfortable shoes. We wouldn’t be able to go anywhere without our feet, yet we often put them in too small or unwieldy shoes that leave us limping by the end of the day. In certain physical jobs, like construction or moving, it’s important to protect our feet as much as our heads or our backs. Having the right footwear — and foot protection! — can help reduce accidents and overall costs. No one is too good or too cool to not employ proper foot protection — indeed, the Bureau of Labor Statistics ran a study that showed that three-quarters of the accidents that occurred did so because workers were not in compliance with the guidelines already established! Think of all the accidents that could be avoided!
What Should I Know About My Feet and Preventing Accidents?
We have an amazing 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and 19 muscles in our feet, all of which are subject to injury if we don’t protect our feet with work boots or the appropriate footwear for our jobs. You can have a comfortable boot that’s also reinforced for protection, such as steel toe boots, hobnail boots, or heavy duty work boots with extra traction. Having a comfortable boot can really help in an active workplace — a construction worker or laborer could take over 30,000 steps in an average day, compared with most people just taking 10,000 steps, if that!
Keep in mind too, that under one-quarter of those who sustained foot injuries were wearing safety shoes or boots — the other three-quarters did not have the appropriate footwear. The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employees who sustain a foot or toe injury can miss as much as a week or more of work — a fairly costly accident that can be prevented by wearing the appropriate footwear.
How Is the Foot Protection Market Doing?
It’s doing quite well, all things considered. About $70 is spent on each employee for foot protection in an average year and the industrial market’s revenue in terms of safety shoes and boots, rubber or plastic boots, and foot and leg guards is almost at $1 billion for year! If we even cut down accidents by 10%, we would save almost $60,000 every year!
What Rules Are In Place to Ensure Workplace Safety, Especially Foot Protection?
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) mandates that every employer has to do a hazard assessment, per 29 CFR 1910.132(d) (for those who want to get really specific) in order to figure out workplace risks. This also includes foot injury hazards. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) also sets forth standards for being safe in the workplace. Their code F2413-11 has specific instructions for measuring work boot safety performance, in order to try and avoid thousands of avoidable workplace injuries.
What Should I Look for In a Work Boot?
You should make sure you pick a comfortable boot and one that fits well — a boot that’s too big could have you slipping and sliding around, which can be precarious if you’re balancing or up at a great height. You want to be sure on your feet. Boots should also have plenty of toe room — your toes should be 12.5 mm away from the tip of your boot.
You should also consider getting steel toed work boots, with a solid steel toe cap to prevent any objects from falling and breaking your toe. The steel cap will hopefully repel the object or take the brunt of the weight, instead of your toes. Whether or not the toe cap is made of pure steel or composite materials, the toe cap itself should be permanently attached to the inside of the boot or shoe, to avoid it coming detached.
Keep yourself safe in the workplace by following OSHA regulations and making sure you have the appropriate footgear (and a comfortable boot!) to avoid easily avoidable injuries.