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A closer look at foot injuries in the workforce - II

Serious work injuries can cause significant disruptions for employers, including decreased productivity, increased insurance premiums and steep work comp costs. As such, employers will typically do their best to provide safe workplaces that protect their workers from neck, back, knee and other common work-related injuries. While this is laudable, are employers missing another fairly common but equally devastating injury?

According to medical experts, workers in all fields are susceptible to foot injuries. While this may not seem like a particularly pressing problem, these medical experts point out that an employee experiencing serious foot pain can be understandably distracted, causing their productivity to suffer and their likelihood of being involved in a workplace accident to skyrocket.

Today's post -- the second in an ongoing series -- will briefly explore some solutions to help prevent occurrences of work-related foot injuries/foot pain.

Anti-fatigue mats: As discussed in our previous post, many workplaces now have concrete floors because they are cheaper to install and maintain. However, these floors can be the cause of significant feet injuries, as they provide zero shock absorbency and only minimal resistance.

Medical experts advise that one way to combat this problem is to provide employees who must stand in a stationary position for an extended period of time with anti-fatigue mats. These anti-fatigue mats are designed in such a way -- a cushioned surface of rubber, carpet, vinyl or wood -- that they decrease pressure on the feet and legs.

Shoe insoles: While anti-fatigue mats can help stationary workers, they provide little relief to those employees who stand for extended periods of time while rotating among tasks. In fact, they can even present a tripping hazard to these employees.

Here, medical experts advise employers to consider providing these mobile employees with shoe insoles. These rather simple devices have been shown to absorb shock and help prevent bone/joint degeneration over time. However, it's imperative that the type of shoe insole provided is appropriate for the employee in question.

Preventative stretching: In addition to shoe insoles and/or anti-fatigue mats, employers may want to consider providing their employees with guidance/training on proper preventative stretching techniques.

According to medical experts, these foot stretches -- performed in the morning and at lunch -- can keep feet warmed up and ready for the stress of the workday. In addition, stretching the feet after work can help reduce swelling and invigorate them for the next day.

Stay tuned for further developments in the area of workers' compensation defense law ...

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal or medical advice.


EHS Today, "Preventing foot pain in the work force" Nov. 17, 2011

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