Dr Martens

Survey finds that outdoor workers are neglecting their feet

  • 7 Feb 2017

In an industry where many workers are physically active for most, if not all of their day, the correct choice of footwear is essential, especially when faced with conditions such as freezing temperatures and damp environments. Yet many people neglect to take good care of one of their most important tools – their feet. 

Here, Jon Marchant, Global Category Manager; Industrial Footwear at Airwair International – Dr. Martens – talks about the company’s recent survey, and how its findings point to a need for change.

Outdoor workers have their say

Our recent survey among outdoor workers, highlighted some concerning results when it comes to safety footwear worn on site.

The survey found that more than half (51%) of outdoor workers were unhappy with their boots, with 65% stating that they suffer with cold feet during the winter months, as well as many other complaints such as wet feet (40%), odours (25%), blisters (21%) and chilblains (16%). It is no surprise then, to hear that an overwhelming majority (73%) indicated that comfort is the key consideration when buying outdoor working footwear, followed by price and then safety features.

Know the risks: Make informed safety footwear choices 

In an industry where potential hazards to workers’ feet are abundant, such as slips, trips and falls, heavy or sharp objects, and prolonged exposure to damp conditions that can cause bacterial infections, it is important for workers to think about what type of footwear they need to use to withstand such situations.

SURGE STIf workers are focused purely on and price, they run the risk of overlooking features that are critical to safe outdoor working. Protective elements such as a safety toecap, water-resistance and a puncture resistant midsole, can all help to keep feet safe and healthy during the working day.

Workers should prioritise choosing footwear that has been specifically designed to protect their feet from dangers while working, and a good start would be to look for boots that are compliant with set industry standards, such as the EN ISO 20345:2011 standard that specifies basic and additional requirements for safety footwear used for general purpose .

Whose job is it anyway?

The survey also found that the responsibility of purchasing safety footwear for work is currently being taken on by the individual in most cases and not by the employer, with three quarters of those surveyed stating that they purchase their own boots.  Shockingly, 58% of outdoor workers purchase their boots from conventional high street stores or online retailers, instead of from specialist workwear manufacturers or trade counters that would be required to meet those tough industrial standards. 

These figures highlight a potential cause for concern on sites across the country, especially in the light of the launch of tougher sentencing guidelines last February. Employers that are found to be responsible for incidents that involve injury to employees, could now face fines of more than £10 million for serious health and safety breeches, or even £20 million in corporate manslaughter cases. This highlights a real need to improve industry knowledge of the potential dangers from inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE), and what the best solutions are for the task being carried out.

Working together to improve awareness 

As the survey results showed, most workers buy their own footwear, perhaps without the knowledge of what the best safety footwear solutions are, and the minimum features to look out for. This is where employers need to improve awareness of what is required on site. 

Some employers are able to make contributions towards safety footwear purchases, and this would certainly go a long way to ensuring outdoor workers are purchasing the right boots in the first place. However, where this isn’t possible, improving industry knowledge is a good start to driving up standards across the industry, and will ensure that safety will be at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

Leave a Reply

Latest news

Keyline

Keyline to provide new employment opportunities for young people with Kickstart Scheme

Keyline Civils Specialist has joined the Government’s Kickstart Scheme – a placement programme designed to support young people into the workforce.

Posted in Articles, Building Industry Events, Building Industry News, Building Products & Structures, Building Systems, Civil Engineering, Facility Management & Building Services, news, Posts, Recruitment, Training

C-TEC

C-TEC’s Hush ActiV domestic fire system elevates protection at new apartment block

Hush ActiV, C-TEC’s innovative new BS 5839-6 domestic fire alarm system, is providing first-class fire protection at a luxury apartment block in Bolton.

Posted in Articles, Building Industry News, Case Studies, Facility Management & Building Services, Health & Safety, Innovations & New Products, Security and Fire Protection

Uzin

Uzin Utz UK to continue fundraising for the NHS

Over the past year, Uzin Utz UK has been fundraising for the University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire (UHCW) Charity, to show its appreciation to our NHS heroes.

Posted in Articles, Building Industry Events, Building Industry News, Building Products & Structures, Charity work, Floors, news

BMBI

Builders’ Merchants’ December sales up on 2019 - BMBI

Sales to builders and contractors by Britain’s builders’ merchants in December 2020 were 8.8% higher than in the same month the year previous, according to BMBI Stats. 

Posted in Articles, Building Associations & Institutes, Building Industry News, Building Products & Structures, Building Services, Building Systems, Civil Engineering, Hard Landscaping & Walkways, Landscaping, news, Posts, Timber Buildings and Timber Products, Walls