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Ventilation in the Workplace

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 21 Jun 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Safety Boots Safety Shoes Safety

Depending upon the environment in which you work, you can be exposed to many different hazards in the workplace which could cause serious injury to your feet which is why wearing safety boots should be worn in specific instances and, in some cases, it’s mandatory.

The Dangers to Your Feet

There are numerous dangers to your feet in the workplace. These include working around electricity, handling, lifting and working around heavy equipment, climbing hazards, working with chemicals and slippery services to name but a few. Here is a breakdown to the kinds of injuries that occur to workers every day.

There are also different types of safety footwear to choose from and it’s important for an employer to ensure that a full risk assessment of the workplace is carried out in order to make the recommendations for what specific kind of footwear you should be required to wear in order to do your job.

Specific Foot Injuries in the Workplace

Here are some more specific examples of workplace injuries to your feet and how they are caused:

  • Cuts and broken toes or feet (including severed toes or feet) - via unguarded machinery, using mowers and chainsaws
  • Sprains and twisted ankles (including fractures) - via inadequate lighting, slippery floors, littered floors and walkways, improper footwear
  • Electric shocks - via coming into contact with electricity and static electricity
  • Punctures of the soles of feet - via sharp loose objects on the floor such as broken glass, nails and sharp metal
  • Crushed or broken feet (including amputation) - via feet being trapped between two heavy objects, moving vehicles such as using bulldozers or fork lift trucks
  • Burns - via working with molten metal and chemicals and the result of splashes and coming into contact with fire and flammable materials

Choosing the Correct Footwear

If your feet are at risk in the environment within which you work, your employer has a legal obligation to tell you the correct footwear you should be wearing. In many cases, this will be provided for you. However, if not, it’s important that you choose the correct footwear for the job. It’s also important that these are legally approved.

Some circumstances will require you to wear steel or metal toe-capped boots to give additional protection to your toes and the top part of your foot whilst others will give you added impact protection for jobs in which you might be pushing around carts which carry heavy equipment or where you may be working with heavy pipes, for example.

Other types of boot or safety shoe may have additional puncture resistant soles where the workplace can often be subject to loose nails and other sharp objects falling onto the floor. If you’re working with electricity, you should also choose safety boots or shoes which have insulation and conductive properties.

In some jobs, it may even be necessary to have different types of safety shoes or boots for the particular task you’re carrying out at a specific time. This is sometimes overlooked but if you’re wearing the wrong type of safety shoes in a particular environment, they may well be as equally ineffective in protecting you as wearing normal dress shoes or trainers. So, you should always fit the shoe or boot to the situation you’re working in.

The important thing is not to underestimate the potential for foot injuries and to take the appropriate safety precautions when it comes to wearing the correct footwear. You’d not think of working on a construction site without wearing a hard-hat, for example, so you should equally give your feet the same level of consideration when it comes to safety and the importance of wearing the correct safety shoes or boots.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Sarah - Your Question:
I work in a room that until last year was a store cupboard. There are no windows, air conditioning and the door has to remain shut due to confidentiality as it is an NHS clinic setting. It is extremely uncomfortable due to temperature. A fan does not make much better. I can work for at least 4 hours without a break. Is this legal? Please advise

Our Response:
Workers have the right to one uninterrupted 20 minute rest break during their working day, if they work more than six hours a day. This means your employer is not breaking the European Working Time Directive law. You can see more regarding what your employer must provide via the HSE link here. Otherwise, you should really speak with your line manager directly to see if there is anything that can be done to make your work environment less uncomfortable to work in.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 23-Jun-17 @ 3:25 PM
I work in a room that until last year was a store cupboard. There are no windows, air conditioning and the door has to remain shut due to confidentiality as it is an NHS clinic setting. It is extremely uncomfortable due to temperature. A fan does not make much better. I can work for at least 4 hours without a break. Is this legal? Please advise
Sarah - 21-Jun-17 @ 8:33 PM
I love you so much and this website, such good detail and it has helped me through my college course many thanks Sam
Tank - 22-Sep-15 @ 2:29 PM
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