Coffee Time Challenge
Protecting your feet
Many parts of the body are protected by law in the workplace, but what measures can be taken to protect the feet?
Going into a workshop or onto a construction site rightly requires the donning of personal protective equipment. If it is outside, visitors are required to put on a hard hat, to protect against things being dropped from above, and in a workshop, visitors are usually expected to put on protective goggles, to protect against flying particles.
If it is a clean room, there will be an additional requirement to put on coveralls, overshoes, and usually something over the hair, to protect the environment. But what about the feet? Things getting dropped on one's toes is a much more likely occurrence in both workshops and construction sites than objects falling on the head from high up.
We have often noticed that hard hats are still required by workers and visitors going onto roof areas, where there is no more upwards from things to fall from, but there is still the risk of objects landing on feet. There is also a strong risk from slipping on wet patches or oil spillages, if shod with shoes chosen for their smart appearance in the office. The obvious solution is to put on industrial boots with toe protectors.
On site and in workshop site workers should be wearing these anyway, but for visitors, there is a need to have a large range of sizes available, and who wants to try wearing boots which have been worn by somebody else's smelly feet? The end result is that most companies simply don't bother. The hard hat and/or goggles show that they have made the ritual effort and visitors and office staff had better be careful where they walk and not try picking up heavy objects.
Our challenge this month therefore, is to provide something that can be handed out to visitors to a factory or construction site that will protect their feet without their having to put on boots. We have not heard of anyone going to litigation after dropping a lump of metal or concrete on their feet but with some lawyers hungry for business, it is sure to happen soon.
Whatever solution is adopted should be effective, low cost, reliable and reusable. It is possible that the problem might be solved by visitors wearing steel or rigid plastic aprons which project outwards but apart from making them look silly, would be quite likely to lead to other accidents when people bump into each other, especially when crammed together in a lift.
The solution that we offer in next month's edition of Eureka, however, solves the problem most simply and inexpensively. Nobody seems to have thought of it before. See if you can come up with anything better.
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