Benefits of Safety Footwear when Working at Heights
Safety at a workplace is a prerequisite at any job. Employers have to make sure that proper steps are taken to keep their workers safe, healthy and to prevent any possible injuries and accidents. Especially hazardous are maintenance and construction jobs and any such jobs where heavy machinery or working at heights is involved.
Every employee deserves to have a safe working environment, where proper precautions are in place to secure their health and where risk factors are properly and sufficiently controlled. No matter the workplace, whether it is indoors or outdoors, an office, a construction site or a factory, maximum safety has to be ensured. This involves proper safety attire which should be required by the employer. This means high visibility clothing, hats and Personal Protective Equipment or PPE.
Working at heights is especially dangerous and involves many more risks. Accidents that result from working at heights, most commonly falls and slips, are responsible for a great number of serious injuries at a workplace every year. Anything from a two-meter fall or higher, can cause serious or even fatal injuries. Working at heights includes working on platforms, scaffolds, ladders, but also working on roofs, on any elevated structures or vehicles, on the edges of buildings or structures, working on top of pits or any kind of deeper holes.
Some of the main risks of working at heights are workers slipping, falling, and also objects falling on the people beneath them. This can happen when the workplace is not properly secured, or assessed for risks, if the objects are not properly stored or secured, if the equipment is not adequately secured, if workers are not properly trained or if they are not wearing proper safety equipment and clothing.
Importance and benefits of safety footwear
Personal Protective Equipment is essential at a workplace, and what it includes depends on the nature of the job. When it comes to working at heights, safety or protective footwear is of very high importance, but it is often times neglected or overlooked. Many problems and accidents could be prevented if proper and adequate footwear was used and worn, so ensuring that workers wear them as a part of their obligatory safety equipment is very important.
Protective footwear is designed to prevent major injuries such as falling and slipping, electrical hazards, heavy objects falling on the foot. Working at heights should involve slip-resistant shoes, i.e. with slip-resistant soles, hard materials that protect the foot from falling objects and metal protection for the toes. And on top of it all, they should also be comfortable enough to work in them for a whole day.
When it comes to the health of workers, the shoes have to be comfortable and also made in the way that they offer enough support for your feet. When standing on your feet all day and working, it can be hard on your feet as well as on your back and posture. Having a shoe that provides arch support is invaluable. It prevents health problems as well as excessive physical exhaustion, and therefore workers are more alert and there will be less falls and slips.
Having a shoe that fits properly is also very important. It is not rare that workers have problems with their legs and feet, such as pain, tension or even blisters. This can all be due to a wrongly fitted shoe, or the wrong size of it. The feet bear all the weight, especially when standing on them for a prolonged amount of time. It is important that shoes fit, so that you can safely stand and move around and be stable on your feet. It is important to measure both feet when trying on footwear, because they may not be the same size, as well as have enough room in the shoe for the toes to wiggle, leaving at least 1cm of space between them and the end of the shoe.
Quality of the soles is very important. They should be strong and flexible, but also shock-absorbent. This means that they will protect your joints when walking or hitting hard surfaces. The most important thing about them when working on heights is that the soles are slip-resistant, and those are usually made of rubber or PVC. The entire shoe should be made out of a natural breathable material, so that the foot is kept fresh, and so that it repels water.
Article is written by Matt, a writer and editor for Choice Solutions Roofing & Exteriors.