Your employee’s feet may have to contend with several hazards during a work day. Slippery floors, uneven surfaces, sharp objects and inclement weather are just a few of the many demands that some employees face in the workplace. With all of those potential hazards, choosing the right safety footwear becomes critically important.
The best thing to do when trying to decide on the right footwear is to look at what an employee faces in a day. Understanding this can make it far easier to choose the right safety footwear. One aspect of footwear to look at is the sole, as this is a big part of what will protect employees from hazards like oil or heat. Choosing employee footwear with inappropriate soles can actually place employees in danger. As well, under certain conditions, the wrong sole can actually deteriorate if not used in the right conditions, which can mean money lost in replacement.
Comfortable Footwear Means Happy Employees
It really goes without saying, but comfortable footwear can do wonders for employee mood and morale. One of the most common misconceptions surrounding work footwear is that it is supposed to be uncomfortable at first and then get more comfortable with wear. This is untrue. In reality, the footwear you choose should be comfortable to wear from the first time they’re tried on. Under the comfort umbrella is breathability, as this is a key factor in comfort as well as health.
Parts of Footwear to Consider
A piece of footwear has more than one feature which should be given due consideration.
The tread on footwear is as important as the construction of its sole. Tread is what will prevent slipping and ultimately injury and downtime in the workplace, which is why it’s so important to detail as many of the materials that employees will encounter as possible. Not only that, but also to be considered is any cleaning that office or factory floors will undergo that may cause them to be slippery.
The pattern of the tread will especially important for employees who encounter wet surfaces on a regular basis. Where this is the case, a tread which has as much contact with the surface as possible is the best choice, because it will help the wearer to discern what may be underfoot.
The toecap on safety footwear is another consideration. Both the metallic and on-metallic toecap versions are made to EN standards. Toecap construction is important for safety, both from falling objects and for temperature. Non-metallic toecaps are usually constructed of plastic, which does not retain cold temperatures as metal toecaps do.
Who else needs to be consulted?
In addition to employees, there are other staff which will need to be involved with staff clothing selection and approval. Your company’s health and safety manager will most certainly want to take the time to review prospective footwear so they can provide feedback and make suggestions. Your purchasing department will need to know that the footwear you’re ordering will come in under budget. They will also likely want to know how available this footwear will be in the future should more orders need to be placed for replacement or new hire purposes.
Having all of the right considerations in place as well as a policy to ensure that a particular process is followed each time footwear is researched or purchased is a good idea. While it may take some time to formulate, your departments will appreciate the opportunity to participate, and your employees will get to enjoy the benefits of footwear that’s comfortable and right for the job.