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What You Should Know About Common Foot Hazards

Common Foot Hazards

A cure for common foot hazards.  Prevention and training are the keys to a successful safety footwear program.

IMAGINEthis: An employee walks into a hazardous workplace environment and sustains a foot injury. The employee must now endure a painful injury and lost time from work and his employer is faced with productivity loss and a potentially damaging worker’s compensation claim.

This is a scenario that occurs every day throughout  U.S. workplaces.  By implementing a safety footwear program and proper training common foot hazards can be reduced or eliminated.  Read on to learn injury statistics and training to prevent them.

Common Foot Hazards – Injury Statistics

Statistics supporting the importance of preventing foot injuries:

* More than 60,000 foot injuries per year result in lost work days – Bureau of Labor Statistics
* 75 % of injuries occurred when workers were not in compliance – Bureau of Labor Statistics
* Average cost of work loss foot injury is $9,600 – National Council on Compensation Insurance
* 80% of all footwear injuries are caused by an object weighing no more than 30 pounds

 Hazards and Protections

Listed below are some of the common workplace hazards and what can be done to prevent them:

Falling and rolling objects, cuts and punctures.

Injuries could include crushed or broken feet, amputations of toes or feet, punctures of feet or toes.
Protection and Prevention: Wear steel or composite toe safety footwear, metatarsal guards, puncture-resistant footwear. Shoes or boots should be American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F2413-05 compliant.

Chemicals, solvents.>

Injuries could include chemical burns, skin irritation, and exposure.
Protection and Prevention: Wear leather safety footwear with synthetic stitching, Rubber, vinyl, plastic, or PVC compound boots or overshoes.

Electrical current, high voltage.

Injuries could include electrical shocks or fatal electrical exposure.
Protection and Prevetion: Safety footwear should incorporate an electrical hazard (EH) protective sole and heel.  Footwear should be designed to provide protection from open circuits of 600 volts or less under dry conditions. Properties should include the ability to withstand 14,000 volts (rms) at 60Hz for one minute with no leakage in excess of 3.0 milliamperes.

Extreme cold.

Injuries could include frostbite and permanent tissue damage or loss, as well as causing discomfort.
Protection and Prevention: Wear insulated footwear that  is waterproof or water resistant.

Slips, trips and falls.

Injuries include falls, back sprains, ankle sprains, and disabling injuries.
Protection and Prevention: Wear safety shoes with soles that are non-slip rubber, urethane, or crepe; footwear that wraps around and laces tight around the ankle to prevent sprains and twisting.

Wet environments.

Injuries could include slips and falls, back sprains, ankle sprains, strains, and disabling injuries.
Protection and Prevention:  Wear lined rubber boots with waterproof characteristics and with soles that are non-slip rubber, urethane, or crepe.

Proper Footwear and Workplace Assessment to Minimize Common Foot Hazards

Proper safety footwear alone will not prevent all accidents.  Performing a hazard assessment of the workplace, in conjunction with footwear selection and training process, helps to ensure that hazards are minimized and employees are in compliance with the employer’s policies.

Prevention and training are the keys to a successfully implemented safety footwear program.


Dr. Kris Dinucci