Just like it is important to have eye and face protection for certain types of jobs, foot and leg protection is critical in some jobs as well. Foot and leg protection is one of the important areas of personal protection equipment (PPE).
It involves protecting your employee’s feet and legs from injuries they are at risk of during their normal business operations. If your employees might be in risk of something crushing their feet or legs, or puncturing them, you should consider what type of protection they need.
Here is what you should know about choosing the right footwear and when it is needed.
What Foot and Leg PPE Protects Employees From
Foot and leg protection can protect your workers from damage or injury to their feet that might occur when equipment rolls or pinches their feet or heavy objects falls on their feet. It also protects them from sharp objects like broken glass or nails, molten metal splashing, electrical or chemical hazards, fire explosions, hot and wet surfaces, and slippery surfaces from oil or grease.
When an Employee Needs to Wear Foot and Leg Protection
In general, your workers should always wear foot and leg protection if they are at risk for an injury of their limbs. Specifically, here are some situations where you want to make sure they are protected:
- They are working around electrical or fire hazards.
- Employees or working on slippery, oily, hot, or wet surfaces.
- They will be exposed to molten metal that is at risk of splashing their legs and feet.
- There are sharp objects nearby that might harm them, such as spikes or nails that would go through regular shoes.
- Large and heavy tools or equipment could potentially roll over their feet.
Types of Foot and Leg Protection
There are several different types of foot and leg protection. What they need will depend on the types of risks and hazards they are facing in the workplace. This includes:
Safety shoes. Footwear referred to as safety shoes includes shoes that have heat-resistant soles and impact-resistance. They protect workers in the hot metal, construction, paving, and roofing industries from burning their feet. Some also have metal soles to protect against puncture wounds.
Toe guards. Toe guards provide additional protection for toes from injury from heavy objects. These fit over the toes while wearing regular shoes, and might be made of plastic, steel, or aluminium.
Leggings. A special type of leggings can be worn to protect your lower legs and your feet from certain heat hazards. They can protect you from burns from welding sparks or molten metal.
Foot and shin guards. Another type of protection for your legs and feet are shin and foot guards. These typically go over your feet and shins and protect from different elements and heavy objects.
Make sure all of your employees are protected with a workers’ compensation insurance policy. If an employee steps on a nail while working on a roof, and it goes through their shoes, the expenses incurred as a result of its injury will be covered by the policy.