Monday, 24 December 2018

Five Steps to Ensure Your Employees’ Foot Safety

Employees who stand or walk for a prolonged period during their work hours often neglect taking proper care of their feet. As a result, they become more susceptible to different foot related disorders and pain that can have a lasting effect on their overall health. These hazards can not only lead to employees’ compensation claims, but may even trigger a decrease in productivity and an increase in absenteeism. Hence, it has become really important for employers to take care of their employees’ foot safety. Here are five key steps that employers can implement to increase the foot safety of their employees.

Image Courtesy: Pexels

1. Job design: 

Good job design can greatly help to avert fixed positions, particularly set standing positions. An ideal job design should involve different tasks that demand the use of different muscles and there should also be changes in body position after a certain period (say 30-45 minutes). For example, job enlargement that includes an array of tasks in an employee’s duties can help reduce the probability of developing foot problems as it brings more variations in body motion and positions. Another thing that should be emphasized upon is frequent short breaks. When job redesigning seems to be impractical, these breaks can be extremely helpful to alleviate many potential foot problems.

2. Workplace design: 

Though things like anti-fatigue floor mats may seem to be an ergonomically thoughtful gesture to increase the comfort level of the employees, the bulky nature of these mats can cause them to stumble over while moving across the workspace. Ideally, these mats should be replaced with personal anti-fatigue insoles that come with dual layer memory foam to enhance comfort. Employers should also take care of floors that are constantly greasy or wet, uneven or heavily cluttered. Regular cleaning and uncluttering of floors as well as periodic inspections to ensure that the floors meet the comfort and safety standards, are crucial for employees’ foot health. 

3. Employee safety training: 

Many employees often think that they are safe from workplace injuries and thus, ignore the importance of foot safety attire. For these individuals who often tend to avoid wearing recommended rubber boots, puncture resistant insoles, work boots, steel-toe overshoes etc, employers can consider certain steps to make them adhere to foot safety regulations. For instance, a mandatory safety training session conducted several times every year can help employers remind their workforce about safety hazards and encourage employees to comply with foot safety guidelines.

4. Constant reminders to play safe: 

Often when deadlines are approaching, employees rush through tasks and may feel tired or frustrated due to the stressful job environment. This, in turn, can lead to foot injuries. Therefore, it’s crucial for employers to conduct periodic sessions that emphasize on how safety and accuracy come first, over a blind rush to meet deadlines that may compromise both the safety and productivity of employees.

5. Stress on wellness program: 

Fatigue and frustration have become two common issues in today’s workplaces. Both of these bear a direct correlation with stress, which can easily lead to injuries. Offering a wellness program (with emphasis on foot safety) in the form of incentives not only helps to increase employees’ wellbeing but even exhibits that the employer cares about them.

Final words

When an employee has been in the workforce for a substantial time, it begins to take its toll. Proper foot care becomes crucial to prevent stress and strain on the body as well as other associated problems like degenerative joint diseases, reduced circulation etc. Apart from implementing these steps, employers should also motivate their workers about the fact that healthy feet is important at any age, and that it is never too early to learn about how best they can take care of their feet.