You can be exposed to many different hazards in the workplace which could cause serious injury to your feet. That’s why the importance of safety boots in the workplace can’t be underestimated. In many jobs where there’s risk of heavy objects falling on your feet, they are mandatory.
Our guide looks at why wearing safety boots in the, along with other items of protective clothing at work, is vital.
Safety Boots Protect from Workplace Hazards
There are lots of dangers to your feet in the workplace.
These include working around electricity, lifting and handing, and working around heavy equipment. Other examples are climbing hazards, working with chemicals and slippery surfaces.
There are different types of safety footwear to choose from. It’s important for an employer to ensure that a full risk assessment of the workplace is carried out. This helps make recommendations for types of footwear that will be needed.
Examples of Foot Injuries in the Workplace
Here are some examples of workplace injuries to your feet and how they are caused-:
- Cuts and broken toes or feet (including severed toes or feet) – via unguarded machinery, using mowers and chainsaws.
- Sprains and twisted ankles (including fractures) – via inadequate lighting, slippery floors, littered floors and walkways, improper footwear.
- Electric shocks – via coming into contact with electricity and static electricity.
- Punctures of the soles of feet – via sharp loose objects on the floor such as broken glass, nails and sharp metal.
- Crushed or broken feet (including amputation) – via feet being trapped between two heavy objects, moving vehicles such as using bulldozers or fork lift trucks.
- Burns – via working with molten metal and chemicals and the result of splashes and coming into contact with fire and flammable materials.
These risks should be properly assessed, and correct safety boots should be worn.
How to Choose the Right Safety Boots
If your feet are at risk at work, your employer has a legal obligation to say what safety boots you should use. In many cases, this will be provided for you. However, if not, it’s important that you choose the correct footwear for the job. It’s also important that these are legally approved.
Types of Protection Offered by Safety Boots
Some circumstances will require you to wear steel or metal toe-capped boots. These give additional protection to your toes and the top part of your foot. Other types of safety boots will give you added impact protection. These are vital for jobs in which you might carry heavy equipment such as heavy pipes, for example.
Other types of boot or safety shoe may have additional puncture resistant soles. This is important if the workplace is subject to loose nails and other sharp objects falling onto the floor. If you’re working with electricity, you should also choose safety boots or shoes which have insulation and conductive properties.
In some jobs, it may even be necessary to have different types of safety shoes or boots for different tasks. This is sometimes overlooked. However, if you’re wearing the wrong safety shoes, they might not offer any protection. So, you should always fit the shoe or boot to the situation you’re working in.
The important thing is to make sure you understand the risk of foot injury. Your should take the appropriate safety precautions when it comes to wearing the right footwear. You’d not think of working on a construction site without wearing a hard hat. So you should give your feet the same level of thought when it comes to safety.