Nowadays, we find ourselves in a society where specialisation and efficiency in the labour sector is increasing.
As is normal, each job has its own risks, so work footwear is an essential component in order to comply with current occupational risk prevention regulations, and it must be the most appropriate for each professional task.
Safety footwear has to be adjusted to the needs of the work environment and the demands of the worker. But what is its role and why is it so important?
Safety footwear to comply with the prevention of occupational hazards
Safety footwear is a component that is part of a PPE, so its design must take into account a series of properties depending on the type of equipment, tasks to be carried out and the risk associated with them.
The first characteristic that safety footwear must fulfil is that the sole must be slip-resistant.
Slips and falls are the most frequent accidents in the workplace, so the footwear used must reduce the chances of a fall as much as possible.
In addition, safety footwear should also be waterproof, although this depends on the work being carried out.
If there is a case where workers have full contact with electricity, the work footwear should also have insulating properties in addition to waterproof and slip-resistant properties.
The safety toe cap is one of the elements of safety footwear that must be reinforced to prevent toe injuries. If the toecap complies with certain attributes, it provides superior durability to the footwear, as this part of the footwear is the one that generally gets damaged the quickest. The safety toecap should be made of steel, aluminium or composite to ensure footwear will not deteriorate quickly and will absorb impacts.
The type of sole the footwear has will also have a significant influence on foot protection and compliance with current risk prevention legislation.
As can be seen, compliance with current regulations regarding prevention of occupational hazards is essential to ensure workers’ safety.
Main pathologies affecting workers’ feet
The pathologies affecting workers’ feet can be divided into two groups:
- Firstly, there are the most common pathologies such as corns and calluses.
- Secondly, there are certain more specific pathologies depending on the sector and the risks associated with it in each case, such as cuts, burns or crushing. The latter are the ones that cause the greatest number of absences from work.
It is a complicated task to find out in which professions the highest number of injuries, illnesses or accidents occur and their specific typology. In any case, much progress has been made in risk prevention and there are all kinds of regulations and specific material for practically all types of work and sectors.
For example, in sectors such as construction or metal, there is a greater risk of suffering serious pathologies at work, but there are also other sectors such as hotel and catering or cleaning, where at first glance common injuries can be foreseen, but which can even lead to the incapacity of the worker.
What are the treatments for foot injuries at work?
In the event of a foot injury at work, the treatment depends on the type of injury that has occurred.
For example, in the case of hardness that causes pain or makes walking difficult (corns or hyperkeratosis), a chiropody should be carried out to remove them.
The use of insoles also serves as orthopaedic treatment in other types of pathologies, as they help to disperse the loads on the foot that immobilise the damaged area, but enable the worker to walk freely, preventing certain disorders from worsening.
Finally, the use of pharmacological, physical or mechanical treatments such as traditional bandages should not be omitted, although a visit to a medical specialist is always pertinent in order to determine the most appropriate problem and treatment on each occasion.
In any case, the most efficient and appropriate method should be used to resolve the worker’s injury.
What percentage of occupational accidents leading to sick leave involve the feet?
Around 15% of occupational accidents resulting in sick leave directly involve the worker’s feet. It is therefore essential to comply with occupational risk prevention both for the health of workers and for the company.
Every year, the losses caused by absenteeism due to accidents at work are increasing.
This trend must be changed simultaneously by employers, prevention technicians, health professionals and employees.
Did you know the importance of safety footwear in the prevention of occupational hazards? Find out more about this and other related topics in our safety footwear blog.
If you are thinking of hiring a strategic partner for the design, development and production of custom-made safety footwear of the highest quality to protect workers from all occupational hazards, GPI can help you.
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