What do cashiers, assembly line workers and healthcare workers have in common?
They work in occupations that have them standing for long periods of time, or
working in hazardous areas, all which can take a toll on feet and increase the
risk of foot injury. Feet can get hurt, punctured, crushed, sprained, and
lacerated. A lack of attention to foot safety can also cause slips, trips and
Feet don't just get hurt while in motion - they also can be injured when
standing in one place for too long. The human foot is designed for mobility.
Continuous standing not only tires your feet but can cause the joints of foot
bones to become misaligned. It can even cause inflammation that might later
lead to rheumatism and arthritis.
Wearing the wrong footwear can cause blisters, calluses, corns, arthritis, toe
malformations, fallen arches, bunions and other problems.
However, there are things you can do to reduce foot problems and injuries in
the workplace such as keeping your feet healthy, and identifying relevant
hazards. Start with these factors:
Tasks should incorporate varying body positions that use different muscles. Job
rotation, job expansion and teamwork, as well as frequent short rest breaks,
can all help reduce the toll on your feet
A workstation should allow you room to change body position. A foot-rail or
footrest allows you to shift from one leg to the other when standing and
reduces stress on the lower legs. Where possible, a worker should be able to
work sitting or standing at will. And even when work can only be done while
standing, a seat should be provided for resting purposes.
An unyielding floor, such as concrete, has the impact of a hammer on the feet
when stepped on. Any other type of floor is preferable - wood, cork, carpeting,
or rubber. As a last resort, anti-fatigue matting provides cushioning that
reduces foot fatigue, but should be used with caution (see OSH Answers to read
about the limitations of matting).
When choosing footwear, look for the following qualities:
For workers exposed to foot hazards, protective footwear is essential to ensure
safe and healthy feet. Safety shoes and boots protect your feet, help prevent
injuries to them, and reduce the severity of injuries that do occur in the
workplace. All jurisdictions in Canada require that workers wear adequate
protection against workplace hazards. For workers exposed to foot hazards, the
required protection is protective footwear certified by the Canadian Standards
Association (CSA Standard "Protective Footwear", CAN/CSA-Z195-09). Ensure that
your protective footwear conforms with the appropriate standard for your
jurisdiction. All working footwear, for both men and women, whether it is
safety wear or not, should provide comfort without compromising protective
Feet are subject to a great variety of skin and toenail disorders. You can
avoid many of them by following simple rules of foot care:
Some feet sweat more than others and are more prone to athlete's foot. Again,
following a few simple guidelines may help:
In cases of persisting ingrown toenails, calluses, corns, fungal infection and
more serious conditions such as flat feet and arthritis, see a doctor and
follow the doctor's advice.
AplusA-online.de - Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety