Safety Boots Matter in the Workplace. Simply put, your feet are critical to job performance, and injury sustained to the foot is a significant, yet largely preventable, issue in the workplace.
Consider the following Bureau of Labor statistics regarding foot injuries in North America:
- Over sixty-thousand foot injuries result in lost work days per year
- Seventy-Five percent of these foot injuries occur when workers are not in compliance with foot safety regulations
- 80% of foot injuries on the jobsite are caused by objects less than thirty pounds affecting the foot in some manner.
- Compensation insurance is high – $9,600 is the average cost of a workday lost due to a foot injury.
Foot Injuries in the Workplace
Knowing these statistics, let’s go a bit deeper into foot injuries in the workplace. Did you know that the most common types of foot injuries fall into the categories of puncture, compression and impact? To prevent injuries of this type, it is best to choose footwear that has either metatarsal protection, toe protection or both. Metatarsal protection is meant to protect the small metatarsal bones of your feet. The metatarsal bones are the five long bones that extend along the top of your foot. Toe protection is meant to protect the phalanges bones that make up the toes on your feet. In many cases the arch of the foot, or sole of the foot also needs protection in order to prevent foot punctures. Lastly, there are needs for other types of protection, such as electrical protection in the workplace. Wow, that’s a lot more detail than simply picking up a pair of steel-toed boots, isn’t it?
In addition to the visual symbols listed above, the foot safety industry has developed the following protection code for Canadian workers. The code below indicates the type of internal construction present in the boot you are wearing. This code will be present within at least one boot in your pair. The safety boot protection code chart is below:
The safety chart above can be read as follows:
Position 1: This tells you the level of toe-protection (Grade 1 or 2, or Grade 0 if there is no toe protection)
Position 2: This indicates the presence of a puncture-resistant sole (P if it is present, 0 if it is not)
Position 3: This tells you the level of metatarsal protection (M if present, 0 if it is not)
Position 4: This tells you the level of electrical protection (C if conductive, E if shock resistant, S if static dissipative, 0 if there is no protection)
Position 5: This tells you if there is chainsaw protection (X indicates if this level of protection is present, 0 if not)
If you require more information on the selection of safety boots in your workplace, please visit the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.