Workers in certain industries and occupations need special footwear to protect their feet from injury. For example, safety shoes such as those with steel toes can protect the feet from risks like falling objects that can crush the feet.
Just as hard hats and safety goggles and other protective equipment are required at many construction and industrial work sites, so are protective boots and other footwear. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets standards for protective gear in the workplace including footwear.
Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM urges you to wear appropriate safety and protecting footwear every day at work, depending on employer requirements and the type of work you do. The right safety footwear can protect your feet from serious injury caused by many types of workplace hazards including:
- Burns caused by workplace chemicals and other materials. Choose footwear made of durable materials for protection from molten metal, chemicals and other dangerous substances.
- Cold temperatures as experienced by those working outside in cold weather or in wet or refrigerated areas. Without adequate protective footwear, there is a real danger of frostbite and hypothermia. Wear boots and shoes that are waterproof and warmly insulated.
- Cutting hazards such as machinery with sharp or moving parts that can cause severe lacerations to the feet. Workers who routinely use chainsaws such as loggers should wear boots made of cut-resistant material.
- Electrical hazards. Where electrical accidents like static electricity and shocks may occur, footwear should be made of non-conductive materials such as leather or rubber. Anti-static boots and shoes can protect the body from static where there may be a build-up of static electricity.
- Fatigue from standing for long periods on hard surfaces such as concrete. Look for shoes with plenty of arch support and cushioning – these will relieve muscle strain. Supportive shoes can even help ease chronic lower back pain.
- Heavy falling objects that can crush the toes and foot. Choose steel-toed boots for maximum protection.
- Puncture wounds from stepping on sharp objects. Wear shoes with heavy-duty soles.
- Slip and fall accidents. Shoes and boots with plenty of traction can prevent these injuries and can also help keep your balance on ladders.
The right footwear at work can also protect your feet from everyday painful foot problems such as calluses, corns, blisters and ingrown toenails. While these may not be occupational injuries, they can cause enough discomfort, fatigue and pain to make you uncomfortable during your work day. Ill-fitting footwear can contribute to all these conditions as can boots and shoes that are worn out.
Always invest in your feet and your comfort at work by choosing footwear that fits well, that suits your activities and that gives your feet good support and protection.
We Can Help Resolve Any Foot or Ankle Pain
Dr. Alexopoulos, board certified podiatrist has the right experience to diagnose and treat all types of foot and ankle problems. Many treatments and surgeries can be addressed right here in our office. Please call our Chicago office at (773) 561-8100 or request an appointment via the website. You don’t have to suffer from foot pain – contact us today!