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It's gotta be the shoes: proper footwear could prevent work falls

When you get behind the wheel of a car, the first thing you are supposed to do is put on your seatbelt. When you ride a bike, you want to make sure that you are wearing a helmet. If you're going whitewater rafting, you are supposed to wear a flotation device (and a helmet, too).

These simple safety steps can spare someone serious pain or injury, or even save their life -- and for the workplace, it's no different. Embracing the simple safety steps can protect employees from suffering debilitating or catastrophic injuries. So what's the "first step" for workplace safety in the same mold as a bike helmet or a seatbelt? Well, it just may be your shoes.

Yes, wearing work-appropriate footwear is extremely important, and it can prevent slip-and-falls which are proving to be quite costly. Roughly 15 percent of falls account for work-related injuries, and these injuries can keep an employee out of work for an extended period. That means he or she may need financial help in the form of workers' compensation, which they are entitled to; and it means the employer may suffer financially as a result. No one wants these falls to happen.

So what can be done to help prevent these falls? It all starts with the footwear. For those working in slippery or weather-dependent jobs, you need to have clean shoes that help you grip whatever surface you are working on. At the same time, employees who come inside after working in a slippery or grimy area need to clean their shoes to help prevent a slip-and-fall.

Source: Colorado Springs Business Journal, "Preventing slips, trips and falls in the workplace -- and at home," Feb. 13, 2014

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