Shoes are as important to worker safety on construction sites as hard hats and safety goggles. The benefits far outstrip simple reinforced soles or steel toes.
There are many workplace injuries that start with an improper set of footwear. Here are some workplace injuries proper gear can help prevent:
Falling objects – Dropping a box cutter or a pipe wrench can be a bigger problem than necessary without steel-toed shoes. Toes protected with alloys and non-metallic substances are just as effective.
Punctures – Stepping on a sharp object can be as debilitating as dropping one. Nails and equipment inadvertently left on the floor can send a worker to the emergency room.
Cutting tools – Many professions involve tools that cut, such as loggers who use chain saws. Special boots that prevent cutting are mandatory in these jobs.
Electrical hazards – Almost every job is powered by electricity and footgear that prevents conductivity is mandatory. In addition, some workplaces deal with flammable materials susceptible to electrical shocks. Non-conductive footwear can reduce static electricity and save lives.
Slips and falls – Of course, good traction is mandatory is almost all professions. Oil-resistant footwear can not only keep you from slipping, it can provide longer shoe life since it resists the deteriorating effects of oil.
Fatigue – Standing all day, especially on concrete, can not only cause fatigue in your feet through poor arch support but also cause deterioration in the back, legs and neck. Shoes with alloys to protect the toes rather than steel are lighter, can be tolerated for longer periods and can save wear and tear on the body. Shoe fit is also important.
Burns – Shoes can prevent burns from chemical spills and molten metal.
Extreme weather – Not only can boots keep feet warm when working in refrigerated workspaces and prevent frostbite when out-of-doors during the winter, but some maladies are made worse by the cold and can be alleviated by warm, dry shoes. Steel-toed shoes can get colder in freezing weather, so many workers opt for non-metallic-toed work shoes.