• Pain in the … heel! Helping Workers with Plantar Faciitis

    Posted by Glenford Laughton

    Plantar Fasciitis (fash-e-i-tis) is one of the most common causes of heel pain that can lead to much more serious work-related strain and injury. This condition accounts for almost 15% of all foot-related complaints.

    The condition involves inflammation of the plantar fascia (a tough fibrous band of tissue that runs along the sole of the foot with attachments to the heel bone) and to the base of the toes. The plantar fascia provides support to the arch of the foot and plays an important role in normal walking.

    The main symptom of Plantar Fasciitis is pain in the center of the heel. This is usually worse in the morning when the foot is first placed on the floor.

    The pain associated with Plantar Fasciitis is typically gradual. But occasionally, the onset of pain can be sudden, triggered by a worker missing a step or after jumping from a height.  The degree of discomfort can sometimes lessen with activity after “warming-up”, but unfortuantealy can also become worse with prolonged or vigorous activity.

    The main contributing factors causing Plantar Faciitis are:  age, weight and more extreme foot arches (both low or flat feet and high arches). In addition, work surfaces and work shoes can and do contribute to the condition. Very hard work surfaces means the foot-on-floor impact is more severe. Flooring that provides cushioning or matting can be help reduce the impact. It’s also important for workers to wear safety shoes or work boots with the right amount of cushioning  to support the foot and relieve the potential triggers associated with this condition. You can also recommend that workers do foot stretches, like toe and calf stretches, to reduce tightness in their feet and heels specifically.

    Workers in occupations that required prolonged standing and walking are at a higher risk for developing Plantar Fasciitis. Helping workers mitigate some of the potential risk with the right flooring, matting and safety footwear that helps cushion workers feet are ways you can help minimize their risk and “soften the blow” of Plantar Faciitis for your workforce.

    Find more information on Plantar Faciitis here:

    Ontario:  https://www.ohcow.on.ca/plantar-fasciitis-2.html

    Alberta: https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/Pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=hw114458

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  • Getting A Grip on Slip Resistant Safety Footwear

    Posted by Glenford Laughton

    Keeping your workers safe on the job is critical. Making sure they wear slip resistant footwear that reduce the risk of their slipping on the job is part of the solution. However, not all slip resistant footwear are the same. So how do you know if what your workers are wearing is slip resistant enough?

    First things first: What does “Slip Resistant” mean?

    It’s defined as the amount of resistance the sole of the shoe exerts while moving over the walking surface. Slip resistance can be measured. And the measurement is called Coefficient of Friction (or COF). COF is the ratio between the maximum frictional force that the sole of the shoe exerts and the force pushing the sole across the surface.

    So really it comes down to the traction and grip of the sole of the shoes and the floor itself -simple enough! Not quite – read on.

    How Is Slip Resistance Measured?

    Slip resistance is measured on a scale. The scale runs from 0.00 up to 1.00.

    0.00 is equivalent to a skating rink, while 1.00 is equivalent to a dry carpet. The higher the number, the greater the slip resistance.

    So rather than ask whether or not a pair of shoes is slip resistant, you could ask:  How slip resistant are a pair of safety shoes.

    Do slip resistance standards exist?

    Unfortunately, there are no national standards for slip resistant footwear in the workplace. Unlike CSA safety standards for toe and plate protection, slip resistance comes in a wide range of performance levels and different brands use different test methods to determine slip resistance. In other words, not all safety footwear provides the SAME level of slip resistance or is measured consistently in the same way.

    The most common testing process is done on a variety of walking surfaces, typically including dry quarry tile, wet quarry tiles and stainless steel. This is done in order to replicate standard work surfaces. And the footwear that is tested will be provided with COF testing results that look something like this.

    Co-Efficient of Friction Flat Heel
    Dry Quarry 0.73 0.54
    Wet Quarry 0.47 0.39
    Wet Stainless Steel 0.55 0.52

    A variety of factors will affect the slip resistant performance of a shoe including tread pattern, contact between outsole surface and flooring, and the materials from which the outsole is made.  When choosing a pair of slip resistant safety shoes or work boots, it’s important for you and your workers to find out how that shoe or boot is going to perform in your specific work environment.

    Without real slip resistant testing standards in Canada, using COF measurements to evaluate footwear can be helpful in decision making but can’t be relied on especially when comparing various brands and styles. Our experts can help you navigate through the options to find safety footwear that provides the best slip resistance for your workers and workplace.

    At Mister Safety Shoes, we are committed to helping workers get the best fitting, most comfortable safety shoes and work boots, so they remain productive and protected. We provide an end-to-end safety footwear management program for all sizes of businesses in Ontario and Alberta. Please contact our business solutions team if you are looking for a safety footwear program for your company.

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  • Under Pressure – how to help reduce strain and injury for workers on their feet

    Posted by Glenford Laughton

    It’s challenging for workers to reduce foot strain when walking and standing all day. A workers’ heel lands on the floor with a force of 1-1/2 to 2 times their body weight. The impact of a full day of standing and walking on the body is equivalent to the weight of a cement mixer truck. The cumulative effect can cause microscopic trauma and joint compression that leads to foot strain and injury.

    If your workers are on their feet for more than 4 hours per day here are a few things you can do to help mitigate their risk of strain and injury:

    • Have workers who are primarily standing, take short breaks and move/walk to increase blood circulation in their legs.
    • Encourage workers to stand with one foot in front of another. This allows them to alternate back and forth with one foot resting and the other foot supporting.
    • Make work surfaces height-adjustable to allow for both standing and sitting and to accommodate people of different heights.
    • Make sure workers wear good fitting safety footwear with good quality midsole cushioning. This helps provide a barrier between the foot and the work surface.
    • Encourage workers to wear insoles, which provide important arch support and additional shock absorption.

    For more information on symptoms and treatments of foot pain and strains check out this information from the Canadian Orthopaedic Assocation.

    At Mister Safety Shoes, we are committed to helping workers get the best fitting, most comfortable safety shoes and work boots, so they remain productive and protected. We provide an end-to-end safety footwear management program for all sizes of businesses in Ontario and Alberta. Please contact our business solutions team if you are looking for a safety footwear program for your company.

     

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  • 3 Tips for Finding the Best Safety Footwear for Standing on Concrete

    Posted by Glenford Laughton

    If you experience sore feet, lower back pain, or leg strain from standing on hard concrete floors at work all day, you are not alone! While walking distributes your weight, standing doesn’t, which can lead to discomfort, knee pain and swelling in the legs and feet. But whether you are standing or walking, hard concrete floors can be punishing on your body when working for extended periods. Over time, workers may suffer from injuries and/or chronic pain. Whether you are working on an assembly line at a factory, in a warehouse or in construction, making an effort to take good care of your feet can go a long way. Wearing proper safety shoes and work boots that support your feet will make a big difference.

    3 Important Features in Safety Footwear

    1. Fit: Finding quality footwear that is the correct size and fit and offers the needed support for your foot is the most crucial step when deciding what type of safety shoes you will purchase no matter what surface you work on.
    2. Shock-absorbing footbeds: Protect the heel and ball of your foot from the day-to-day impact of hard surfaces with safety footwear that features good shock absorption in the footbed. This is the base layer that will protect your feet.
    3. Cushioned midsoles: Midsoles are the area of footwear between the sole of the shoe and the bottom of the footbed. They provide an important barrier between the hard concrete surface and your feet. The amount of cushioning you will need depends on your level of activity. Standing is a bigger strain so more stationary work requires more cushioning; more active workers require lighter cushioning that does not weigh the foot down. The analogy is to walking on sand – although comfortable, it’s a lot more work.

    And for all workers we recommend insoles. Insoles provide arch support that is important in helping reduce strain, pain and potential long-term musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). And, they are also another great shock absorber. Unlike anti-fatigue flooring matting, insoles provide individual foot support and travel with the worker wherever they go.

    We carry a range of great options for working on hard, concrete surfaces, including:

    Reebok Work Fusion Flexweave with a floatride midsole, Terra Spider with supportive sides, low profile and a cushioned midsole, and the CAT Trail with heel shock absorbers for balance, comfort and lightweight performance.

    At Mister Safety Shoes, we are committed to helping workers get the best fitting, most comfortable safety shoes and work boots, so they remain productive and protected. We provide an end-to-end safety footwear management program for all sizes of businesses in Ontario and Alberta. Please contact our business solutions team if you are looking for a safety footwear program for your company.

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  • 7 workplace slip, trip & fall hazards in plain sight

    Posted by Glenford Laughton

    When you’re responsible for workplace safety, it’s important to know that 66% of all slip, trip and fall injuries happen when vemployees work on the same level? This means that most workplace injuries are not from falling from heights but from simply moving around their worksite? This means the risks for injury, absenteeism, and expense to your company are literally in plain view.

    Scan this risk checklist to see if your company is missing opportunities to improve workplace safety:

    • Keep employee parking lots clear, dry.
    • Secure mats and rugs especially in high traffic areas.
    • Quickly mark and clean up spills and weather-related hazards
    • Clearly identify steps, ramps, and other elevation changes.
    • Keep all key work areas and walkways well-lit.
    • Identify a  go-to person for employees when they ID a potential slip, trip or fall hazard.
    • Ensure your employees are wearing the appropriate CSA certified safety shoes and work boots for both their job and their work environment. Good fitting safety footwear will reduce work distraction and foot fatigue, which can contribute to injury.  The right grip and support will also help mitigate a variety of slip, trip and fall situations. Find out more a in our blog posts https://mistersafetyshoes.com/kicking-the-tires-of-slip-resistant-footwear-3-things-to-know/ and https://mistersafetyshoes.com/the-right-safety-shoe-for-your-job/

    You can also get a handy infographic poster for the Canadian Centre for Occupational health & Safety CCOHS: Preventing Falls from Slips and Trips Infographic

    At Mister Safety Shoes, we are committed to helping workers get the best possible safety footwear so they have the support and protection they need to remain productive and comfortable.  We provide businesses with an end-to-end safety footwear management program that reduces administration time while making it easy to keep employees protected. Please contact our business solutions team if you are looking for a safety footwear program for your company.

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