Tools

Foot health on the job

By Leana Huntley

In the work environment high productivity is of utmost importance. The other critical factor is safety. Safety entails both protecting your feet from danger and should address comfort as well via footwear. A client was once referred to us, who due to ignorance, was wearing plastic bags instead of socks to work. He wore them with sneakers for a job that should have required boots. These are the simple yet serious errors that are made, which in his case resulted in fungal infection along with smelly feet.

Our jobs require different things; standing for many hours, excessive walking, working in somewhat dangerous environments with potentially hazardous chemicals, materials and machinery. Such work spaces are required by law to observe strict OSHA regulations, therefore attempting to eliminate a large number of foot injuries. In environments with heavy material or machinery, it is easier to sustain injuries; so extra concern must exist to ensure the well being of the feet and body. Safety and care should be part of your overall regime.

On The Job

• Some things to remember in practising safe work habits and attitudes are as follows

• Be aware of the hazards of your job and the proper protective measures to take.

• Don't take chances or unnecessary risks. Take time to do your job right.

• Be alert, watch for hidden hazards.

• Be considerate, and look out for other workers' safety.

• Follow the rules... don't cut corners. Use your equipment as specified.

• Concentrate on the job. Inattention can lead to accidents.

• Pace yourself. Work steadily at a comfortable speed.

• Keep your work area clean and your tools in their place.

Off The Job

There are a few simple things you should do:

• Wash your feet daily and ensure that you dry them thoroughly.

• Check your feet frequently for corns, calluses, cracks.

• Keep your feet warm.

• Trim your toenails straight across, slightly longer than the end of the toe.

• Prevent foot problems by visiting your podiatrist/chiropodist/foot health practitioner as part of your health check-up.

• Wear protective footwear when using lawnmowers, chain-saws, and moving heavy objects.

Recommended Footwear

Safety shoes and boots are necessary to aid in preventing/reducing the severity of injuries. Factory and field workers regularly complain about safety boots in terms of the heaviness, stiffness or uncomfortable feel of it. Within recent years the design of some safety footwear is flexible and comfortable, whilst still serving its purpose of protecting the feet.

In certain industries, the foot is the most valuable part of your body that is subjected to injury. Because of the many potential work hazards, you should discuss with your supervisor the safety shoe, boot, or other protective equipment that is required by law for your protection and that of the company.

Hazards

• Falling and rolling objects

• Cuts and punctures

• Chemicals and solvents

• Electric current

• Extreme cold

• Extreme heat and direct flame

• High voltage

• Hot surfaces

• Sanitation contamination

• Slips and skids

• Sparking

• Static electricity

• Wetness

Protection

• Steel-toe safety shoes, metatarsal cushions, heel cups, orthotics (insoles)

• Footwear with synthetic stitching and made of rubber

• Shoes or boots with moisture - or oil-resistant insulation, which can that can repel water (if this is a problem)

• Insulated socks

• Overshoes or boots of fire-resistant materials with wooden soles

• Shoes with rubber, leather or cork heels and soles, and no exposed metal parts Safety shoes with wooden or other heat-resistant soles; wooden sandals overshoes

• Safety shoes with no metal parts and non-sparking material

• Insulated rubber shoes or boots; rubbers or shoes of silicone-treated leather

• Non-slip rubber or neoprene soles; non-skid sandals that slip over shoes

When an injury occurs, report it to your supervisor promptly for primary care. Then see your physician/podiatrist/chiropodist/foot health practitioner if further treatment is recommended. Proper foot care improves your efficiency and keeps you on the job.

By visiting your podiatrist/chiropodist/foot health practitioner regularly, you can aid in having happy feet. I am happy to advise that Almawi is starting a Clinic at the Diabetes Headquarters in Chaguanas from tomorrow, especially for persons affected with diabetes in mind. I would be available for consultations on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so please call for further information.

Your feet mirror your

general health... cherish them!

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