Question: I own a manufacturing shop and many of my workers are on their feet most of the day. I understand this might cause back or muscle injuries. I can’t change the nature of their work—they need to stand in order to perform their tasks. What can I do to help prevent injuries?

Answer: While much attention goes to workers who sit too much, there is an equal amount of concern aimed at finding a healthy balance for those who work on their feet.  Prolonged standing and walking, particularly on hard surfaces, can lead to low back pain, circulatory issues in the legs, sore feet, ankles, knees, and hips.

Here are some suggestions to help avoid these risk exposures:

  • Anti-fatigue mats are one solution to minimize fatigue from standing if the employee is working in a smaller work area, such as standing in front of a conveyor line, or assembling products at a workbench.
  • Work shoe insoles are an option for employees who do more walking than standing. Choosing the proper shoe with insoles designed for the specific task is important.
  • A shoe policy for employees can help them choose the appropriate footwear, which is critical for safety and comfort.

When it comes to setting up your shoe policy, you would have to pay for your employees’ footwear if you require shoes or boots that fall into the “protective category.” These include anti-slip footwear or steel-toed shoes.

Educating your employees on the importance of wearing supportive shoes, the pros and cons of the different solutions available, and how to use them properly can go a long way towards preventing musculoskeletal injuries and improving comfort when standing all day.

For information on additional steps you can take to make your workplace more comfortable for those who stand throughout the day, see Standing Workstation Guidelines in our ErgoMatters℠ section.

 

The above evaluations and/or recommendations are for general guidance only and should not be relied upon for medical advice or legal compliance purposes. They are based solely on the information provided to us and relate only to those conditions specifically discussed. We do not make any warranty, expressed or implied, that your workplace is safe or healthful or that it complies with all laws, regulations or standards.