Every employee is entitled to work in a place where their safety and health are of a high priority. Whether you’re working in a factory, manufacturing, or a construction site, employee safety and health shouldn’t be ignored.
While some focus more on their protective attire, such as hard hats and high visibility clothing, the one that always seems to get overlooked is proper footwear. So, why is wearing the proper safety footwear important on a job site?
Jobsites pose a lot of dangers and are filled with hazards at every turn. Thus, it only makes sense for workers to protect themselves, and that includes your feet.
Safety shoes are just what they are—keeping your feet protected from all kinds of possible injuries. These are specially designed with construction workers or other similar job workers in mind.
Regardless of how careful you are, accidents happen. By keeping yourself properly protected, you can minimize injuries from those unexpected accidents and prevent a trip to the emergency room.
Here’s how safety shoes help protect your feet:
- Puncture and Damage: Stubbing your toe can make it difficult for you to walk for a few minutes. Imagine a stone or a heavy crate accidentally dropping on your foot and having your toes crushed. Safety shoes like steel cap boots can protect your feet from getting crushed or other injuries. Thick-soled and heavy-duty shoes are also crucial at preventing nails or other sharp objects from puncturing the shoes and your feet.
- Slips and Falls: Safety shoes are designed to have a strong, non-slip grip on any surface, preventing slip-off, falling, and tripping. Also, these types of shoes have the appropriate traction and treads that can prevent accidents in slippery environments as well as preventing falls from ladders.
- Extreme Weathers: Some people work under varying conditions and weather. And some may not stop working because a bad weather. In order to keep working at your best even if the weather isn’t, you need proper protection depending on the condition.
Working outdoors in the middle of winter without proper footwear can cause frostbites and hypothermia. The same goes for those working in refrigerated or wet environments. Safety shoes with proper waterproof or insulation materials can help keep your feet comfortable and warm when working during a blizzard or on a rainy day.
Now, if you live in a tropical area or working during the summer season, there are also safety shoes equipped with moisture-wicking lining or built-in ventilation for air circulation without compromising its safety features.
- Electrical Hazards: Some safety shoes are also designed to reduce the chances of an electrical accident. These non-conductive footwears are often made from rubber, leather, or other materials that don’t conduct electricity.
In job sites where built-up static on the body poses a hazard, specialized conductive or non-static footwear should be used.
- Burns: Burns can also happen on a job site, whether it’s from fire accidents, chemicals, or molten materials. The proper footwear can help prevent burns from molten metal, chemical splashes, and other dangerous substances.
For the employees who stand all day long, particularly on hard surfaces, fatigue and discomfort can be a real problem to bear; Feet, back, and leg muscles can grow tired. Such a situation can worsen if you don’t wear the proper footwear.
Shoes that provide enough arch support and cushioning can make workers more comfortable. This is because shoes of this nature help alleviate the strain on your muscles. As a result, you won’t get fatigued easily. Not only that, but wearing proper footwear also prevents chronic muscle strain that can turn into musculoskeletal disorders.
Required By Law
For the safety of all workers, governing agencies implemented regulations and laws on the use of safety gears including safety shoes in the workplace.
OSHA, for instance, requires employers, especially in the construction industry, to provide safety gear to their workers. A company that fails to comply will face fines and lawsuits.
OSHA established six categories for protective footwear:
- SD (Static-dissipative): A footwear should include materials that can reduce the buildup of static electricity by conducting the body charge to the ground while protecting the wearer from electrical shock.
- PR (Puncture-Resistance): A footwear should contain materials between the outsole and insole to prevent sharp objects from penetrating the sole.
- Cd (Conductive): Identifies a footwear that can protect its wearer against hazards from static electricity buildup while reducing the possibility of ignition of volatile or explosive chemicals.
- EH (Electrical Hazard): The sole of the boot or shoe should provide secondary protection against accidental contact with live electrical circuits under dry conditions. It should protect its wearer from an electric shock of 600 volts or less.
- MT (Metatarsal): A footwear should protect the forefoot or metatarsal area of the foot from impact hazards.
- ST (Impact & Compression Resistance): A non-metallic or steel toe cap should protect the foot against flashing objects or being crushed from heavy rolling objects.
Believe it or not, safety shoes can give you better performance. The comfort and peace of mind that a pair of safety shoes offer can help in improving the way you do your job.
The effects may be unnoticeable at first, however, you’ll soon realize that you’re working harder and better.
You won’t feel the usual discomfort walking with improperly fitted shoes. Also, you won’t mind standing for too long since your shoes provide enough cushion. You don’t have to worry about walking around on a job site since you know that your feet are properly protected.
By giving you a sense of safety and comfort, you can work harder and level up your performance.
There you have it. There’s no denying the significance of wearing safety shoes on the job, especially in industries like construction or manufacturing. The proper footwear will not only help you stay protected while you do your job but also helps enhance your performance and confidently do your job to the best of your ability.