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Footwear at work

Footwear at work

The working foot has a lot of demands made on it, and in a normal working day can easily travel fifteen miles. Just standing still can also put a lot of strain on our feet, so we need to take proper care of them, to help prevent injury and keep them working.

There are a number of potential hazards at work which could lead to injury, such as oily or slippery floors, or machines which can crush or burn. Cold working areas like frozen food stores, or wet conditions, can bring additional problems like chilblains or athlete's foot.

Working comfortably and safely
 Just as a car needs attention and regular servicing, feet function efficiently only if they are looked after.

Try following the SCP Guide to Good Foot Health every day to help prevent problems occurring.
If the Shoe fits
Wearing the right shoe for the job can help prevent accidents and protect your feet and toes from injury.

If you work in heavy industry and have been given an official pair of safety shoes, wear them (they should bear the 'Kitemark' sign which means they meet British standards). Always wear hard-top shoes when operating grass-cutting equipment.

If you are on your feet a lot, you should wear well-fitting, comfortable walking shoes, with thick but flexible soles.

Shoes should have a lace-up fastening that holds the heel in place and prevents the toes from sliding into the toe box of the shoe. There should be enough room at the top to allow the toes to move freely.

Leather 'uppers' and man-made soles are a good combination. The shoe lining should be wrinkle-free and without rough or obtrusive stitching.

If you work in wet conditions, you must wear waterproof footwear and socks which are thick enough to keep your feet warm, but not too tight to affect your circulation. Never wear loose fitting shoes that may slip on highly-polished surfaces.
Help at hand

For minor accidents at work, apply first aid straight away. Cuts should be cleaned and covered with a suitable dressing, and blisters should be left unopened and covered. Rest any sprains as much as possible.

For advice about treating these or more serious injuries, see an HCPC registered chiropodist/podiatrist. He or she can also treat any problems that may have developed.