Industry shoes are designed as per the standards. Different occupations require different types of shoes. Footwear should be appropriate to the job and the work conditions. Caterers, nurses, doctors and teachers need a good fitting comfortable shoe with enclosed toe protection as their job demands long hours of walking and standing. A builder or a person working in the factory will require safety footwear with a steel toe cap and a puncture resistant sole to work on electric hazards and uneven surfaces. Athletes, mountaineers and players require special categories of shoes. In the modern days the high profile brands make good –looking safety boots that can be worn in different weather conditions for different jobs providing full support and comfort to the wearer.
Why proper footwear is required for work?
Proper footwear is required for work as there can be two major categories of work related foot injuries. There can be foot injuries from punctures, sprains and cuts from external objects in the first category. In the second category the injuries can be from slips, falls and trips. Slips and falls do not always result in a foot injury but can be easily prevented by taking foot care and safety through proper shoes. The injuries also include calluses, ingrown toenails or simply tired feet that are common conditions amongst workers. These are not occupational injuries but they can have serious consequences for health and safety in the workplace. They cause discomfort, pain and fatigue. Fatigue sets up the worker for further injuries affecting the muscles and joints. The worker tends to become less alert and is more likely to act unsafely. The work suffers and there are chances of serious accidents.
Unsuitable footwear may cause pain or discomfort to feet ankles, knees and hips when standing for long hours. It can also aggravate the problem of pain in people suffering from joint pains and arthritis. Comfortable and properly fitted footwear is essential to maintain the good health of the feet. It has no relation of workplace outside or at home. Minor foot injuries can be relieved by proper fitting shoes.
What problem could arise because of wrong footwear?
Poorly fitting footwear contributes heavily on the discomfort of the feet.
- There can be intense itching, burning, pain and scaling between the toes which can be caused by fungi which thrive in warm moist places, sweaty socks and tight fitting shoes.
- Shoes that are too big or too small can rub against a sensitive skin spot on the foot causing fluid filled painful blisters.
- Bunions or lumps on the side of the foot at the base of the big toe are caused when the base of the toe is pushed out of its normal position. This causes a bulge on the side of the foot that can be painful and inflamed.
- The skin protects itself against friction and pressure by making a hard layer of skin cells in places where there is irritation these cells form round kernel like bumps called corns which are formed on the top or between the toes. Calluses are thick yellowish and flat parts which occur in other parts of the foot.
- When the toes curl up in the footwear that are too short there is a misalignment of the toe joints or muscle or nerve problems which give the small toe a claw like appearance that is called hammer toe. People suffering from diabetes also develop this problem.
- Plantar fasciitis and heel spurs may be due to poorly fitting shoes
Points to know before you buy footwear for work.
The construction of the shoe definitely matters but the key element in keeping the feet healthy is the fitting of the footwear. Shoes should always be bought at the end of the day when the feet become larger after activity. All footwear must be checked properly to see that they are comfortable from all angles.
Qualities of good footwear
- The inner side of the shoe must be straight from the heel to the end of the big toe.
- The shoe must grip the heel firmly.
- The forepart of the shoe must allow freedom in the movement the toes.
- The shoe must have a strap or lace across the instep to prevent the foot from slipping in and out while walking.
- Working shoes must have low broad heels if heels are necessary, but flat shoes are recommended.
- Always buy a shoe that is slightly bigger than the foot.
- Do not go in for footwear which is too tight assuming it to stretch with wear.
- Feet normally differ in size so the measurement of both the feet must be takin before buying the shoe.
- Consider using shock-absorbing insoles where the job requires walking or standing on hard floors.
Points to know about protective footwear.
In designing strategies to protect foot injury, one has to remember the fundamental principle of occupational health and safety. There are various standards for footwear which are one for safety footwear, another for protective footwear, and a third for occupational footwear. Any footwear that is being supplied must be certified and stamped with the CE mark should provide comfort without compromising protection value. Many safety footwear manufacturers produce safety footwear that s look fashionable as well. Providing adequate protective footwear is an effective protective strategy.
- A steel toe cap should cover the whole length of the toes. A soft pad covering the edge of the toecap increases comfort. If the toecap cuts into the foot, either the size or style of the footwear is incorrect.
- The thickness and material of the soles of footwear for workplace must be chosen according to the hazards and types of floorings.
- Selection of materials of uppers for protective footwear should be done by taking into account the hazards, and individual characteristics of the worker’s foot.
- A steel midsole which protects the foot against penetration by sharp objects should be flexible enough to allow the foot to bend.
- Different types of non-slip footwear must be considered for working on different types of surfaces.
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