Putting Your Workers’ Best Foot Forward

Selecting the best footwear isn’t just about price or comfort.

The average person walks about 5,000 steps a day, which equates to 73,000 miles by the age of 80. For those in the construction industry or jobs that require being on foot all day, that number could be higher.

Nearly 40 percent of injuries and illnesses, most notably fractures, occur to hands and feet and on average, they result in a median of 32 days away from work to recuperate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, workers incurred sprains, strains, tears at rate of 40 cases per 10,000 full-time workers, and required a median of 10 days away from work.

“[Foot protection] is a bit overlooked consideration-wise. It’s key,” says Carl Heinlein, senior safety consultant, American Contractors Insurance Group. “On a construction site, you have different elevations and debris on the ground. A good, sturdy boot with ankle protection will help save a worker from a twisted ankle. When you’re working all day on your feet and it’s not a comfortable boot, it just creates other issues in the body.”

Over the years, foot protection has evolved past the tried-and-true leather steel-toe boot to include a myriad of features including waterproof, electrical-resistant and puncture-resistant designs. For a construction or active worker, selecting the right footwear that is comfortable, OSHA-compliant and offers the right protection could be a challenge.

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