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May 17, 2021
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Foot Protection

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 53,000 foot injuries per year leading to missed workdays. Workers can suffer foot injuries from exposure to:

  • Falling objects.
  • Rolling objects, such as a rolling cylinder.
  • Sharp objects.
  • Electrical hazards.
  • Molten metal or hot surfaces.
  • Corrosive, caustic or toxic substances.
  • Slips and falls on wet or slippery surfaces.

Carefully selected protective footwear can help prevent foot injuries. Alloy (steel)- and composite-toe footwear provide resistance to both impact and compression. Impact resistance protects the foot when something heavy falls on the footwear; compression resistance provides protection when something heavy rolls onto the footwear.

In addition to impact and compression resistance, safety footwear may also include:

  • Metatarsal protection, which provides falling object protection to the area of the foot between the ankle and the toes.
  • Electrical hazard protection, which uses a specially designed sole to protect workers from electric shock from 600 volts or less under dry conditions.
  • Conductive footwear designed to conduct static electricity through the shoes or boots and into the ground.
  • Puncture resistance, where the sole resists penetration from sharp objects such as nails.
  • Static dissipative protection, which reduces the buildup of static electricity on your body.
  • Chemical resistance by using waterproof materials such as rubber, neoprene, or PVC. Footwear manufacturers offer tools, such as chemical resistance guides, to help select the appropriate type of chemical resistant footwear.


Source: Joe Mlynek is president of Progressive Safety Services LLC, Port Clinton, OH:, and content creation expert for Safety Made Simple Inc., Olathe, KS;



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Safety Tip of the Week is edited by Managing Editor Tucker Scharfenberg and published each Monday by Grain Journal, Decatur, IL

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