Using the wrong footwear can cause your employees to face serious problems with their feet. Occupations that require personnel to spend a lot of time on their feet, such as construction, landscaping, and manufacturing, among others, typically present two kinds work-related foot injuries: foot injuries resulting from punctures, sprains, crushing, and lacerations, and injuries due to slips, trips, and falls
The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation demands that employers and supervisors eliminate risks at their source. This includes requiring their employees to wear the right personal protective equipment. A hazard assessment of the facility can help to determine the appropriate safety footwear for your workers.
Assess the workplace and work activities for the hazards that you could reasonably expect to lead to substantial harm under your workplace conditions. Examples include:
- Items that may strike or fall onto the feet,
- Materials used or handled by workers,
- Any materials, tools, or equipment that might roll over the feet,
- Objects that may puncture the side or bottom of the foot,
- Sharp or pointed objects that might slice the top of the feet,
- Any risk of exposure to irritating or corrosive materials,
- Any risk of explosive environments including static electricity discharges,
- Any risk of direct contact with energised conductors of 220 volts or less.
Next, evaluate the risk of:
- Injury to ankles from rough terrain or uneven walking surfaces,
- Slips and falls on slippery work grounds,
- Foot injury from exposure to extreme temperatures,
- Exposure to abrasive or rotating machinery—grinders, chainsaws, etc.,
- Exposure to liquids that may penetrate footwear, resulting in injury or damage to footwear.
Is The Risk Adequately Controlled?
Depending on the nature of the work, many of the hazards that threaten your workers’ feet cannot be eliminated. The primary line of defence is ensuring that they use the right safety footwear. There are other precautions you can take against the risks, including establishing procedures that meet the set legal standards, comply with recognised bodies such as the OHS, represent good practice, and reduce threats as much as reasonably practicable.
If the assessment shows that you need protective footwear for your employees, your company policies must guide the workers towards acquiring footwear that satisfies the guidelines imposed by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).