Bosses value workers who stay on their toes. Yet, even in a clerical setting, those 10 little digits may suffer accidental injury or succumb over time to metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.
Here are seven ways to help your employees protect their feet.
2. Provide lockers for employees who stand for extended amounts of time. A change of shoes can relieve pressure in a given spot. Standing for extended periods can also cause feet to swell by as much as 10 percent, so encourage workers who stand a lot to sit down and prop up their feet during breaks. If one of your employees complains of chronic swelling in the legs or feet, advise them to a visit to a doctor. Prolonged swelling may be an early indicator of a serious problem, such as blood clots or an infection.
3. Encourage seasonally appropriate footwear. Let employees know that you endorse warm, safe winter shoes over more fashionable footwear. One slip on a wet or icy surface may cause serious injury. Expectant mothers are at particular risk because pregnancy hormones may cause feet to swell and their ligaments to stretch, affecting balance and agility. The progression of the pregnancy also shifts the center of gravity, making a woman more vulnerable to falling.
4. Conduct a workplace hazard assessment to identify and prevent potential accidents that may cause injuries. Adhere to U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations on safety footwear. According to OSHA’s website, “an effective safety and health program can save $4 to $6 for every $1 invested.”
5. Offer free screenings for diabetes, which is the #1 cause of foot amputations nationwide, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sweeten the invitation with a gift certificate for a complimentary foot massage.
6. Protect workers from accidental amputations of toes or feet. OSHA requires employers to provide foot protection whenever there is an exposure to the risk of an object puncturing the sole of a shoe or falling onto a worker’s foot. For example, it’s likely that a restaurant chef will, at some point, drop a sharp knife. Without sturdy, closed-toe shoes, kitchen staff risk serious injury and potential lifelong disability. Thus, it pays to obey the law.
7. Prevent “I can help” hazards. When an employee or a well-meaning customer offers to move, say, office furniture or another large item, just say no. Do not allow anyone on the premises to move heavy or hazardous objects unless the person has been trained and equipped to do so safely.