It is generally easy and common for employees to forget to wear their safety shoes and other work footwear as long as their feet don't hurt. However, to adequately protect employees against foot hazards, shoes need to be properly cared for and maintained just like any other kind of PPE so that the PPE serves the right purpose.

Footwear is essential in heavy duty industries and other relevant workplaces as it helps to prevent accidents or significantly, reduce the impact of the accident if it sadly happens. Incidents caused by spillage of chemicals, kicking and bumping into sharp and dangerous objects, to mention but a few, would be a thing of the past if the right footwear is used. However, it will only serve its purpose if it is well taken care of.

Work especially in hot areas can result in sweating feet hence; it is essential that after every working shift foot wear is aired out. This helps dry the shoe to reduce creating a breeding ground for germs and to also reduce cases of bad odours. Wet or moist shoes could become uncomfortable and contribute to foot infections like foot fungus. Employees who have sweaty feet can be advised to change socks during the lunch breaks to keep their feet and shoes dry.

Employees should ensure that protective foot wear is stored in an air-free place where fresh air can circulate always. Safety wear should be stored where it is not exposed to being crushed by other goods or in the traffic of other employees. Crushing footwear distorts its shape which weakens and damages the shoe.

Worn out or damaged shoes should be repaired or replaced immediately. Worn out shoes would pose a safety threat for employees by exposing them to hazards. Employers should also ensure that when purchasing foot wear, they purchase the correct size for employees so that they have comfortable fitting shoes.

Safety shoes should be cleaned regularly. Wet or soiled shoes should be wiped with a clean cloth or paper towel. Cleaning detergents should be used but employees should desist from using harsh ones like bleach and 'Jik ?� as they can weaken the material and distort the footwear's colour. Weakened material means that shoes will wear out easier and quicker due to the conditions it is used in e.g. high temperatures.

Safety shoes are professionally designed and tested to meet national security requirements to protect the toe. Employers should provide the PPE while employees play their part of maintaining and taking care of the PPE.

Posted date: 20th Nov 2014
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