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How to perform a Hazard Assessment on Your Safety Shoes

Whenever you visit an Industrial site of any type, right from manufacturing to construction to mining and other branches, it is mandatory for you to wear safety shoes without which entry to these locations is prohibited. The obvious reason being all these places have heavy machinery and environments that are hazardous, and it is advised to take all precautionary measures to ensure your safety in that ecosystem. It is important to protect your feet as these places are huge and a lot of walking is done through areas that have material scattered everywhere and pose a threat to personal safety. The hazard assessment of the safety shoes then poses a very important issue for the employer to consider and ensure that it is taken care of in the best interest of every employee and people visiting the industrial site.

The eradication of all hazards at their source by employers and supervisors has been made mandatory by the occupational health and safety legislation. This is only possible if the employees are required to wear the appropriate industrial safety equipment of which safety shoes are an important part. To protect your feet from any injury, selection of the appropriate protective footwear that is adequate to the work against the current hazards is of critical importance. It is of utmost importance to review the workplace policy ensuring the safety of the workers and their continuous protection from any possible hazards.

It has to be kept in mind that using wrong footwear can cause the employees discomfort and undermine the safety of their feet. Occupations demanding the use of feet for prolonged hours such as construction, landscaping, and manufacturing, among others, currently present two major injury risks of foot injuries: that directly result from punctures, crushing, sprains and lacerations, and injuries due to slips, trips, and falls. First of all, a hazard assessment needs to be done to determine the safety standard, and it should ensure that the workers are protected from any present or possible hazards. For this, the workplace may choose to have a certain style of footwear in that particular type of hazardous environment.

Another important aspect to be kept in mind while selecting safety shoes is the fatigue level that comes with it. Due to the extra metal filling and other modified parts the weight of the shoe increases, so to avoid excessive strain while walking it is always preferable to go for shoes that are lightweight and of high-quality material that provide the same cover as heavy shoes. Preventing muscle strain is of utmost importance due to long working hours that are spent standing. Frostbites or hypothermia are a few dangers that accompany with extreme cold weathers, these cannot be overlooked, and safety shoes that provide comfortable warmth to keep the blood running smoothly in such a harsh cold are preferred.

Some of the examples of assessing the workplace and work activities for hazards of a specific type that could reasonably be expected to lead to substantial harm under the workplace conditions are :

  1. Equipment and items that can strike or fall onto feet.
  2. Materials that are handled or used by workers
  3. Variety of materials, tools, or equipment that might roll over the feet
  4. Objects that can puncture the side or bottom of the foot
  5. Sharp equipment or objects that might slice of the top of the feet
  6. Corrosive materials and the risk associated with them
  7. Static electricity discharges and the risk of explosive environments that comes with it
  8. Risk of direct contact with highly energized conductors of 220 volts or less.

After this, the evaluation of the following risks is to be taken into consideration:

  1. Injuries to the ankle that occur due to walking on uneven surfaces and from rough terrain.
  2. Slippage and falling due to working on slippery surfaces,
  3. Working with machinery and equipment that are rotary in nature – example. Grinders, chainsaws, etc.
  4. Constant exposure to liquids or chemicals that can penetrate your footwear resulting in injury as well as causing damage to footwear.

Now, the major question that arises is whether the risk is adequately controlled. This depends on the nature of the work. It is also possible that many of these hazards cannot be eliminated. So, the employer needs to focus on the primary objective of ensuring that the employees use the right type of footwear. Some of the standard precaution measures that can be taken against these risks include establishing procedures that meet the set benchmarks, these rules and regulations comply with the recognized bodies such as the OHS, embody and represent good practice, and help in reducing these threats as much as reasonably possible. This assessment majorly evaluates the requirements for safety shoes.