Foot Protection

How much do you really think about foot protection?

Most employees probably don't think much about their feet—until a foot is injured or begins to hurt. Damage to even one bone, ligament, or muscle in the foot can be very painful and make it difficult or impossible for workers to stay on their feet and do their jobs.

There are all kinds of hazards waiting for unprotected feet. Foot injuries on the job can result from:

  • Broken bones caused by heavy falling or rolling objects
  • Bruises and stubbed toes caused by bumps
  • Puncture wounds from sharp objects
  • Sprains from slips, trips and falls
  • Amputations caused by machinery and tools
  • Burns from hot or hazardous substances

You should always have the appropriate protection for the job.  Depending on the specific hazards, employees may need to wear special foot protection such as:

  • Slip-resistant shoes for wet or slippery surfaces
  • Reinforced impact-resistant work shoes or boots to protect feet and toes from being bruised or crushed
  • Rubber or neoprene boots to protect against chemical hazards
  • Metal insoles or reinforced soles to protect against punctures
  • Non-conducting shoes, with no metal or nails, for working around electricity

Even when special protective footwear isn't needed, work shoes or boots should:

  • Fit comfortably, without slipping or pinching the foot or toes
  • Be solidly constructed of sturdy materials that can resist wear and tear
  • Provide good foot support
  • Have low heels and nonskid soles for good traction
  • Be in good condition, with no rips or holes
  • Fasten securely; laces shouldn't drag on the floor

Take the time to learn these general foot safety rules:

  • Identify foot hazards for your job and select the proper foot protection.
  • Always wear appropriate foot protection whenever there is a risk of foot injury.
  • Keep alert to foot hazards and avoid careless or risky behavior that could result in a foot injury.
  • Watch where you're walking and be careful if running.
  • Always pay attention to where you place both your feet.
  • Put your best foot forward to prevent foot injuries.