In construction, the shoes make the worker … safer

Jul 21 2017

It’s a mistake that almost all of us have made at some point in our lives: buying footwear for the wrong reasons. Indeed, a steep price drop on a designer brand or an effort to save a bit of money may have caused you to purchase sandals, sneakers, flats or wing tips that were extremely unforgiving on your feet.

While it’s one thing to suffer through this discomfort while at the office, gym or a social engagement, it’s another matter altogether when you really don’t have the option of taking the uncomfortable footwear off or even sitting down. For example, the wrong choice of footwear by construction workers can have a major impact not just on their comfort, but, more significantly, on their health and safety.   

If you are tempted to discount how big of an issue this is in the construction industry, consider the following:

  • Estimates show that the average person walks an astounding 5,000 steps per day, meaning construction workers, who are required to be on their feet all day, probably take many more
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that 40 percent of injuries and illnesses among construction workers occur to either the hands or feet, resulting in an average of 32 days away from work; Furthermore, the rate of tears, sprains and strains was found to be 40 per 10,000 workers, resulting in an average of 10 days away from work
  • The most common causes of foot injuries among construction workers are fractures and amputations, typically caused by the foot being run over, trapped between objects or crushed under objects

What all of this serves to underscore, say experts, is that it’s imperative for construction workers not to sacrifice comfort or safety in order to save a few dollars, as it might actually end up costing them more in the long run.

This naturally raises the question, however, as to what construction workers can do to help prevent debilitating foot injuries in terms of both footwear choice and general safety:

  • Always consider work conditions before making a purchase, asking whether it’s necessary for the boots to be electrical-resistant, waterproof, puncture resistant, etc.
  • Always look for a boot with a composite or steel toe regardless of work conditions
  • Always work in places that are well-lit
  • Always watch where you’re walking around heavy equipment/machinery
  • Always be mindful of debris and shifts in elevation
  • Always take care to clean, inspect and replace boots as necessary

If you suffer a serious work-related injury and are subsequently denied much-needed workers’ compensation benefits, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional who can fight for justice on your behalf as soon as possible.