The Importance of Protecting Feet
By Madeline Meacham – Safety Coordinator
Personal Protective Equipment is essential for occupational health and safety. While personal protective equipment is considered the last line of defense, it greatly reduces the risk when engineering controls and safe systems of work have been applied yet hazards still exist.
There are many ways to prevent an accident, but when something unfortunate happens, personal protective equipment can provide the extra level of protection to make a potentially severe injury into a mild injury or perhaps even a near-miss.
Proper Safety Shoes Can Prevent Serious Injuries
Consider the situation of foot injuries. These are incredibly common and with the proper safety shoe, most accidents do not result in a fracture or crushing trauma. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports at least 60,000-foot injuries are responsible for keeping people from work every year. The average cost of one of those lost workdays is $9,600, and 80 percent of foot injuries are caused by objects that weigh 30 pounds or less. Think of that heavy hand tool you may use and how much it weighs. Now also imagine you are wearing regular tennis shoes and it drops onto your foot or toes. Are you seeing the importance of a reinforced safety toe shoe right now? Chances are you will be and for good reason; foot and leg injuries can result in permanent disabilities, such as partial or complete loss of walking ability. This impacts how or if the employee can do his or her job even after returning to work.
Our Food Service Technicians Have the Right Safety Equipment
As a commercial food equipment service & installation company, our food service technicians handle heavy equipment and tools regularly. For example, a small oven could weigh close to 400lbs; however, the weight of a larger oven could be upwards of 1,000lbs. or more. Technicians need to be prepared while handling equipment which includes planning the task, looking for hazards in the area, and reacting fast to avoid personal injury. While we always practice safe lifting techniques, utilize mechanical devices and additional team members to make the work safer, the vulnerability of the feet is always a concern. Considering this risk to the feet, all General Parts Group technicians are required to use safety shoes and boots which meet the ANSI Z41-1991 standard that provides both impact and compression protection. Additionally, those who work in areas where they are lifting, moving, or transferring objects such as shipping and receiving are required to wear shoes that have a closed toe and heel; sandals and soft leather shoes of any type are prohibited.
We all want our employees to go home in one piece or better and using the correct personal protective equipment is crucial to that goal. Working safely will always be paramount but to protect the body when something goes wrong, protective equipment adds an extra layer of protection.