There are a variety of injuries that can occur in the workplace, both from sudden accidents and those that occur gradually over time. One such injury many employers don’t often think about is that of injuries to employees’ feet. If you have employees who work laborious jobs where most of the day is spent on their feet, their feet are being put at risk on a daily basis. This can increase the risk of injuries — and thus worker’s compensation claims. However, by following these tips to protect your employee’s feet, you can help to not only protect your employees’ feet but reduce the number of claims.
Require protective footwear – Supply your employees with protective footwear that is appropriate for their type of work, the number of hours a day they spend on their feet, the type of ground surface they work on, and the season. Employees working on flat ground will need different support in their shoes than those working on rocks and dangerous ground like rolling objects. The footwear should abide by the national standards for proper protection.
Encourage shoe changes – Employees who are on their feet for 6 hours or more a day are encouraged to change their shoes, and even put on a fresh, dry pair of socks. Supply them with multiple pairs of shoes to make this possible, and if you need to, give them an area where they can keep the spare shoes such as a locker or other secure spot. Allow time for changing their shoes after every so many hours, such as during their lunch or afternoon break.
Follow OSHA guidelines – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration releases guidelines for proper protection and safeguards for protecting against foot amputations in the workplace to reduce on-the-job injuries; this includes protecting your employees from foot injuries. Follow guidelines as they relate to your employees’ feet such as preventing accidental amputations and similar serious injuries. Part of this should be routine inspections of the workplace to identify and remove hazards.
Educate employees – All new and current employees should be properly educated on how to take care of their feet during work and to follow the OSHA guidelines for safety in the workplace. When training employees, reiterate the importance of protecting their feet since they are working on their feet for the majority of the day. This includes watching their co-workers for potential hazards and helping each other prevent work-related incidents.
Reduce worker’s comp claims – As soon as an employee mentions their feet are hurting, have them visit a worker’s comp doctor immediately. The doctor can help treat their injury and offer help in preventing a more serious foot condition. This will help prevent injury of the employee’s feet in the future and keep the worker’s comp claim lower than the alternative.
By protecting your employee’s feet in the workplace, you are reducing the amount of work-related injuries you have and reducing worker’s compensation claims. While this can help reduce the risks of injury, all employees should still be covered by worker’s compensation insurance.