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Feet are indispensable in physical work. Not only do they carry your body weight all day, they also take you from one place to another. Essentially, they are working all the time. 
 

Our feet have 28 bones and 30 ligaments. If one of those ligaments is overburdened, you notice it immediately. That is why your feet should receive proper attention. In everyday work, they can be heavily burdened. By too much weight, the wrong posture, walking a lot, entrapment, etc. 

Wrong burdering can cause injuries can result in injuries: painful blisters and/or worm ligaments. Painful feet have an immediate impact on the work comfort, productivity and sick leave. In the long term, overburdening can lead to arthrosis, which seriously affects the mobility of the foot and ankle, making the ankles swell up painfully. 

 

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Work situations and risks

In almost any location involving physical labor, there are risks for the feet. Especially in construction and in the installation sector, people work a lot with heavy materials. 

In addition, the underground is not always even, for instance in demolition work, working on slanted roofs and in small spaces, with the risk of feet getting caught. 

In warehouses or logistical halls, feet also require attention. People walk quite a lot of miles in those environments, with the associated risk of overburdening the feet. After all, when people go jogging, they also watch their running technique and shoes. 

Also, there are lots of sectors where there is a risk of overburdening, like the heavy industry, agriculture, shipyards, factories, etc. 

In practice, we see the following risks:
  • Intensive burdening by walking many miles
  • A lot of weight on the wrong shoes.
  • Insufficient dampening in the (inlay) sole.
  • Entrapment of the foot between constructions, burdening the ligaments.
  • Risk of slipping or tripping, and twisting the ankle or other limbs
  • Jumping or stepping from a height, placing too much impact on your ankles and knees.
  • Falling objects, like tools, materials, constructions, with the risk of the foot or toes breaking or bruising.
  • Sharp objects (glass or nails) on the floor can perforate the sole.
  • Erroneous work posture: leaning in the wrong way.
  • Incorrect foot climate, causing sweaty feet or blisters.
  • Good ventilation is important.
  • Wrong shoe size / width, creating pressure points.

Overprotected
Often, people are wrong in thinking that more protection is better, as a result of which they are overprotected, which is something we see especially with safety shoes. There are many workplaces where the heavier, traditional safety shoe is used, but that level of protection is not necessary in every workplace. Heavy shoes also represent weight that people have to carry around all dat. 
For warehouses, a lighter shoe with almost the same level of protection can also be sufficient. In addition, they are more comfortable because they are lighter, provide more ventilation and use more flexible materials like Kevlar. As a result, people are happier at work and more productive. So don’t just look at what other people do, but choose responsible tailor-made safety. 
 
 

Legislation

Legislation and regulations consist of general stipulations up to and including concrete requirements. Companies are obliged to take a critical look at their own work environment and determine the risks1. The employer is obliged to organize the work in such a way that it does not have adverse consequences for the employee.

Although safety shoes are not mandatory everywhere, the employer can decide to make them mandatory. The main reason is the safety of his employees, for whom he has an obligation to care3. If everyone is allowed to wear their own shoes, you can be sure that not everyone is wearing safe shoes. So providing safety shoes is an effective measure. 
 
 

Risk approach

How do you handle the source of the risk?

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An employer must first try to remove the cause of the problem, in this case, for instance by preventing employees from having to transport heavy materials themselves, but using a forklift truck or crane, so that the full weight is no longer placed on the feet. 

Automation or robotization can help reduce walking distances. In addition, it is possible to organize the workplace in a smarter way, for instance by decentralizing locations like cantinas and warehouses, which reduces distances. 

Finally, providing an even underground on the work floor is always to be preferred, thus reducing the risk of people slipping or tripping, as well as making it easier to use tools like carts, rolling containers and warehouse lorries.
 

What are collective measures?

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Collective measures protect everybody. Usually, this refers to technical measures, but it also includes organizational measures, like internal agreements and methods. Some possible examples are:
  • Clearly indicated, shielded walking paths in warehouses and logistical centers.
  • Steel plates in construction sites, allowing people to avoid walking on rough terrain.
  • Walking platforms / temporary floors in installation construction or shipbuilding.
  • Scaffolds, escalators and elevators.
Make sure that the workplace is always tidy and that heavy materials are secured. That way, people will be less likely to trip or get stuck. An even floor is to be preferred, but make sure it is not too smooth.
 

What are individual measures?

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Measures for individuals or roles are easy to map using a Task & Risk Analysis. Preferably, a TRA is carried out with the employees themselves. On the basis of the risks that the TRA identifies, specific measures can be coordinated. 

An important aspect is awareness, which is already created by involving the employees in the TRA, and by then involving them in determining the measures as well!

Some workplaces, like industrial plants or airports, even use bicycles and other modes of transportation, which not only prevents people’s feet from being overburdened, but also accelerates the work process! Other sectors use escalators, elevators or conveyor belts.

Be aware that a lot can be gained by an effective work preparation that allows people to work efficiently. As they say: those who don’t use their head, have to use their feet. 

If the work preparation is in order, the opposite is true: thinking, not walking. 

Of course, many employees will feel their feet after a day’s work, but they don’t always realize that those feet also have to carry all the weight. Education helps to improve people’s work posture (ergonomically). 

If PPG or tools are provided, you have to instruct your employees about the correct usage. A Toolbox can be a useful instrument in that regard, the specific organization of which depends on what is best for your organization. 

Personal Protection Equipment

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Afhankelijk van de werksituatie kunt u kiezen voor
  • Safety shoes: the fact that you come across safety shoes in almost every work location says enough. We make a distinction between low work shoes, high work shoes or boots.

    You select the right shoes for the risks involved. There are many alternatives available. Standardizing helps maintain overview and compare different products. Your quest probably starts with the S-indications. S1 through S5 each indicate a minimum protection level. After that, you can discuss additional requirements for your activity (heat, stability, circular, stitch, arm, etc.) Read more about it.
     
  • Inlay soles: not everyone has the same soles. Some people, for example, have a hollow foot. Inlay soles can be used to compensate for the difference between the inner shoe and a person’s sole, allowing the weight to be distributed more evenly. 

    Note that the inlay sole is a personal protection tool, so safety shoes cannot be combined with inlay soles that the employees already have, which cancels the standardization. It is possible to have standardized inlay soles made that are allowed within the standardization of the shoe. 
     
  • Socks: wearing the wrong socks can lead to sweaty feet or blisters. They are an important element of the protection. So match them to the work environment and climate. 
     
  • Ankle supports: a relatively new development from the athletic world, They are an option when there is an increased risk of strain. A ‘safety belt’ for the ankle prevents unnatural and dangerous movements. 
 

 How to create awareness and support

Each neglected discomfort can be the start of an injury. Many people don’t want to be childish, but keep walking after an injury, weakening the ankle and increasing the risk of straining or spraining. 

Make sure that your employees learn to recognize and report the discomforts. By providing them with regular information, they understand how important this is. 

So discomforts shouldn’t be ignored, but dealt with. That means looking at the causes and trying to remove them. 
 

Advice

Our PPG advisors provide specific advice on the basis of individual activities, keeping in mind the labor hygiene strategy, which includes looking at foot protection. Often, people are wrong in thinking that more protection is better, as a result of which they are overprotected, which is something we see especially with safety shoes. There are many workplaces where the heavier, traditional safety shoe is used, but that level of protection is not necessary in every workplace. Heavy shoes also represent weight that people have to carry around all dat.

For warehouses, a lighter shoe with almost the same level of protection can also be sufficient. In addition, they are more comfortable because they are lighter, provide more ventilation and use more flexible materials like Kevlar. As a result, people are happier at work and more productive. So don’t just look at what other people do, but choose responsible tailor-made safety.

In some cases, your preferred brand may not be enough for some people. In those case, we recommend using another brand to provide everyone with a solution.
 

Safety shoes
How to choose the right shoes?

Product advice on standards, brands, comfort and quality.

 

Hand protection
How to choose hand protection?

Everything about standards, coating, dexterity and advice

Who we are
VeiligGoed in a nutshell

Read more about our mission and services

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