Partnership for foot safety

Thursday, 24 August, 2006

The Australasian Podiatry Council (APodC) has partnered with Steel Blue to promote workplace foot safety as part of Foot Health Week, which will run from 8-14 October.

Vanessa Bradshaw from Steel Blue told Safety Solutions that the annual event is an opportunity for podiatrists to get together to promote foot health by visiting shopping centres and workplaces and raising awareness.

"We are a major sponsor of the APodC and together we have produced joint information flyers for this year's event. We also have posters that industrial workplaces can request," Bradshaw said.

APodC president, Matthew Slattery said the last time the spotlight was on foot injuries in the workplace was five years ago.

Back then, 20% of workplace injuries involved the feet and lower limbs. More recent statistics show this has improved only marginally, with 19% of workplace injuries currently involving the feet and lower limbs.

"People sometimes neglect their foot health," Slattery said. "They may complain of having sore feet after a day's work but then neglect to take action, but it is important they get their feet checked out to avoid crippling consequences."

Slattery said the most common factors to cause feet to ache at work include: ill-fitting shoes; inappropriate shoes; hazardous surfaces that are wet, slippery or too hot or cold; standing for long periods; jumping on and off machinery; and predisposing factors such as obesity and age.

The industries that are hardest hit by foot injuries and will be the target of this year's campaign are manufacturing, construction, mining and agriculture.

The flyers that APodC and Steel Blue have produced contain information about improving foot health for employers on one side and information targeted towards employees on the other.

According to Bradshaw, the kinds of suggestions employees will find on the flyer include wearing good quality socks and changing them every day, as well as pointing out that feet shouldn't hurt at the end of the day if they're wearing well-fitted shoes.

"On the employer's side, we point out the importance of doing risk assessments in the workplace and encouraging employers to emphasise foot safety to OHS representatives," Bradshaw said.

The flyers and posters are available through Steel Blue from boots@steelblue.com.au. Information on inviting a podiatrist in to do foot risk assessments or information sessions can be found at www.feet.org.au.

Wendy Cramer, Editor

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