A workplace injury, by definition, is any form of physical or mental harm to any person in a workplace setting. While it not possible to avoid these injuries altogether, there are several reasonable preventive measures available.
That does not mean that reducing their likelihood is not possible. In fact, most workplace injuries occur as a result of failing to follow workplace precautions.
Employers have the mandate to place workers under a compensation program. That said, these laws are always subject to various factors and organizational regulations.
Most professions today require employees to continually engage in mobile activities, such as lifting heavy objects or standing for long durations. Exposing the feet to such settings can lead to various body injuries that usually start at the feet. The bad part is that these injuries can sometimes work their way up the feet, thus affecting the hips, backs, and even the knees.
Also, foot injuries can be serious for both employees and workers. For the employees, it presents decreased productivity and the possibility of compensation packages. For the latter, it means various issues, including permanent foot damage.
How to Avoid Accidents in the Workplace
Even if there are specific safety precautions for workplaces, many professionals cause errors and fail to consider these factors. Workers and employees work hard to complete deadlines and fail to pay attention to crucial factors such as safety. In other cases, there might be dangers such as the fact that a manager or employer is not aware of safety protocols in the workplace.
A recent study of works in Maryland showed some interesting foot injury results. The study showed that stress fractures, broken toes, and severe heel injuries are the leading causes of foot injuries. The study involved over 600 people, and show that common foot injury cost 11,000 to treat. The most significant compensation award was $89,000.
Also, a recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that well over 50,000-foot injuries occur each year, thus leading to missed work days. As a result, an average of 4.7 people, per 10,000 full time workers, are missing work due to foot related complications. There are several factors that can lead to food related injuries, which can in turn affect the quality of one`s life.
Place safety at the forefront, and remember these key factors when you want to prevent workplace injuries.
Keep Workspaces Clean
Most people never think of hygiene as a deterrent to accidents, but workplace organization can help reduce injuries.
A cluttered and disorganized workspace is not easy to move around, and it also presents a hazard for people who use such spaces regularly. Ensure that staff members understand the importance of rules, such as installing power cords correctly to avoid risks.
Regardless of whether the workspace is an industrial warehouse or professional office, keeping the space clean reduces the chances of accidents.
Place Proper Signs
You should place signs that help remind employees of the correct safety protocols. Place the signs in visible places or spots where they are most likely to find the signs. The signs are much more effective at informing employees about possible workplace dangers.
Furthermore, the signs should be visible, and simple to understand. Its also best to accompany the signs, with some form of visible text, to help drive the message home.
Stay up to Date on Vehicle Maintenance
For companies that provide staff with company vehicles for everyday tasks, all cars must be well maintained and serviced. This might seem obvious, but according to recent stats from Bankrate, the bill accumulating from vehicle-related injuries are staggering.
For employers that provide staff with company vehicles to complete daily tasks, cars must be well maintained and serviced regularly.
Report Dangers and Accidents
Most employees know that they should report an actual accident, but employers must also encourage their staff to bring any foreseeable danger to the management’s attention. Your organization has to come up with a proper solution or technique through which employees can share such grievances.
For instance, most business organizations today allow the Human Resource Department to handle any work-related injuries. More so, the department is also responsible for identifying a proper work safety protocol, and ensuring that employees have the appropriate equipment.
Provide Proper Training and Equipment
All staff require proper training before accessing the facilities of the company. Training on safety helps reduce the likelihood of suffering from work-related injuries. More so, using the correct equipment is not only a safety standard but a crucial work safety factor.
Under no circumstances should an employee work on a task without the correct equipment. The proper equipment might be including:
- Leggings, which help protect the lower legs and feet from heat complications, such as molten metal or welding sparks. Also, safety snaps help ensure the leggings offer a good fit.
- Metatarsal guards, which help to protect the instep area from issues such as compression or high impact. Made using aluminum, plastic, or fiber, these guards are best placed on the outside of the shoes.
- Toe guards that fit over regular shoes, and this helps to protect the feet from high impact and compression issues. Usually, these products are made using materials such as aluminum, steel or plastic
- Using combination shin and foot guards, also help to protect the lower sections of the feet and legs. More so, they are also suitable for use with toe guards, especially when you need added protection.
- Safety shoes with impact-resistant toes and heat resistant soles also safeguard the feet from high-temperature objects.
Most times, accidents not only occur because safety precautions are not precise, but because people prefer to take short cuts. They prefer to take short cuts when they are familiar with the safety guides of the company. Taking the resistance free path might be convenient in the short term, but it can lead to various issues such as workplace injuries.
For example, a worker may climb without a helmet, only because they want to work on a small task, and gearing is tough. Your organization should come up with some form of punitive action program for employees that fail to adhere to workplace guidelines.
That can be the critical variation between a small injury and a life-threatening issue.
What to Do When an Accident Has Occurred
The first thing to do when an accident occurs is to report it to the relevant people in your company. It may be the employees, safety team, HR, or any other relevant party. Every accident should be reported to help the company or organization to keep track of safety issues.
Therefore, the company can have useful information when coming up with improved methods for workplace safety. Also, a workplace-related injury might cause the company to face various compensation and payment issues with its staff members.
OSHA Foot Safety Requirements:
According to OSHA, workplaces must adhere to the following:
- Workers should have protective gear when working in places with hazards such as rolling or falling objects.
- More so, protective wear must meet various standards, including the ANSI Z41. All ANSI footwear provides optimal protection for the feet, especially in hazardous environments. That said, the type of protection is not always similar, and you might have to do more research.
- Safety shoes or boots are also necessary, primarily to provide insulation against issues such as shock or electric sparks.
- Chemical resistant boots, which will help protect the feet from toxic, reactive, or caustic materials. Also, shoes with slip-resistant soles are excellent when moving on slippery surfaces.
Foot Safety Tips for Workers
- Put on the correct shoes. Boots that have toecaps and puncture-proof soles are also suitable for use in different settings. Other professions might require nonslip soles, made using materials that can resist exposure to chemicals.
- Practice excellent housekeeping. Ensure that you keep your workspace free of clutter, which can lead to various issues such as falls or injury.
- Clean up spills fast. You have to pay attention to the cleaning process to ensure the best results. Accidents that lead to foot injuries tend to occur when the worker fails to focus on the task at hand.
- As with all protective equipment, safety footwear should be inspected before each use. Shoes and leggings should be checked for wear and tear at reasonable intervals. This includes looking for cracks or holes, separation of materials, broken buckles, or laces.
- The soles of shoes should be checked for pieces of metal or other embedded items that could present electrical or tripping hazards. Employees should follow the manufacturers’ recommendations for cleaning and maintenance of protective footwear.
Foot injuries can easily compromise one`s health, well being and productivity. This, its important for the relevant authorities in the workplace to take charge, and apply the correct safety protocols.
Aside from providing a clean and proper work environment, the company should identify proper safety protocols. The organization then has to share these protocols with their staff, and also ensure they have access to the resources.
Any person that fails to apply these protocols should be subject to some form of punitive action. Done correctly, and this approach can help reduce the levels of such injuries significantly.