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IMPORTANCE OF ERGONOMICS FOR EMPLOYEE HEALTH & SAFETY

IMPORTANCE OF ERGONOMICS FOR EMPLOYEE HEALTH & SAFETY

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Do you stand on your feet at work for the better part of the day? Your feet get sore and painful? Working under such conditions can have adverse effects on your feet.

Importance of Ergonomics for Health and Safety
The ergonomics field is quite broad. Basically, it can be defined as a scientific branch that borrows knowledge from other disciplines such as physiology and engineering, ensuring that designs complement the skills and strengths in a person, minimizing the effects of their shortcomings. Ergonomics addresses the way people interact with a work environment; for example, the postures that they are mostly in during work or the movements they are needed to make. This can be used instead of just waiting for them to adapt to particular designs while undergoing challenges like discomfort and stress. Therefore, an ergonomist's work is to devise ways that can help people fit in a system effortlessly.

People who work on their feet are one of the most affected people in workplaces. Yes, standing is a natural human posture that poses not so many health risks. The problem comes in when the standing is done for too long. People working as machine operators, salespeople, and assembly line workers do jobs that require a lot of standing. This regular practices can cause different diseases and ailments. Some of these ailments include:

  1. Fallen Arches
    Also known as flat feet, this is a condition where you find the entire foot's sole touching the floor when you stand. Our feet' arches are significant since they help us balance, stand, walk, run, and jump by providing the foot with the flexibility and springiness required. The diagnosis of this disease is made through a visual examination which is later confirmed by imaging tests. Most people who develop this disease show very few, if any, symptoms. However, you may feel some pain, especially in the mid-foot region. This pain may increase when you get involved in an activity. Swelling can also develop along your arch and ankle.

    People who work while standing for too long can develop this disease mainly after the foot is subjected to pronation for long.

    The good thing about Fallen Arches is that it can be corrected. Treatment can involve over-the-counter pain medications, foot exercises, or orthotic insoles such as SelectFlex arch control insoles and surgery (very rare).

2. Plantar Fasciitis
This disease is one of the most common causes of foot ache among workers. It occurs when inflammation develops on the thick tissue band that runs across the foot's bottom and connects the toes to the heel bones. Most patients who have had Plantar Fasciitis always complain of sharp pains, especially when taking the first steps. This pain then gradually decreases, but if they stand again for too long, the pain then returns.

When workers stand for too long, the bone that supports the foot's arch (plantar fascia) experiences great tension causing minimal tears to start developing. Since they work daily, the recurrent tears start irritating and inflaming the bone leading to the disease's development.

Therefore, people who work in such conditions can protect themselves from this disease by wearing adequate arch support in their shoes to reduce the stress applied to the foot. Orthotics experts have recommended using customizeable arch support to help cushion the foot, protect it, and promote worker wellness.

There are ergonomic-friendly ways that can have been effective in preventing this disease. For example, workers are encouraged to maintain a healthy weight. They can also engage in routine stretches after long working hours. Proper work footwear and appropriate shoe inserts are also recommended.

  1. Morton's Neuroma
    This is a condition where a nerve in the foot gets irritated or damaged. One of the main symptoms is stabbing or burning pain coming from beneath the toes. You might also feel like there is a small stone stuck under the foot. These symptoms get worse as the disease develops and might worsen when you wear high-heeled or tight shoes.

    Ergonomists in workplaces suggest that when working, workers should wear safety shoes with several characteristics such as:
    • Wide toecaps
    • Made from soft material such as leather
    • Shoe inserts with gel
    • Quick closing system
    • With wide lasts

    Shoes that have flat surfaces and pointy ends should be avoided at all costs. Also, the ones made of a rigid material, especially around the toe area, are not suitable for a job where you stand for so long.
  2. Foot Pain
    The human foot is designed for mobility. This makes standing for long hours while maintaining an upright stand tiring. Foot aches are common to people who spend most of their working hours upright. This discomfort might be originating from the calluses, corns, knees, and other parts.

    Several options have been employed to try and help workers avoid such pain while on their jobs. This includes changing the environment on which work is being done (especially the floors), wearing the recommended standard of shoes to work, and allocating suitable floor mats for them to stand on. Research has also proven that simple foot stretches at intervals during the day come in handy.
  3. Rheumatoid Arthritis
    Standing for long hours is also known to cause rheumatoid arthritis. People with this disease might confuse the first symptoms with normal foot pains after experiencing pain and stiffness in the toes' joints and ligaments. These aches later persist, especially when they walk after being in a stagnant position for a long time. The aching can also be accompanied by abnormal warmth in several parts of the foot, even if the other body parts are cooler.

    If you are one of the people who work on their feet, you should practice several prevention techniques that will minimize movement. For example, you should always keep what you need around you to avoid unnecessary stretching and pulling. Also, you are not supposed to stand in one position for too long; move your knees a little bit. Stooping down helps release the stiffness and pressure that will have built up while you were standing.

    It is evident that most of these diseases can be caused by wearing shoes that do not have the best cushioning for your arch and feet. If you spend long hours working on your feet, save yourself from the pain and get our SelectFlex Arch Control Insoles today.

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SUPPORT EMPLOYEES WHO STAND AT WORK

SUPPORT EMPLOYEES WHO STAND AT WORK

Meta DescriptionThis post gives a podiatrist's view on why employees who stand at work experience foot pain. It also reveals strategies for lower foot-injury incidents. 

Support Employees Who Stand at Work

As a podiatrist for 20 years, I've diagnosed thousands of painful foot conditions. The majority of my patients have told me that they first experienced foot problems while they were at work. I always tell employers that when an employee has a work-related foot injury, their business will feel pain in other ways. Here is what I've learned.

Employees Who Suffer Work-Related Foot Injuries Cost Businesses More Than They Initially Think

According to the (Bureau of Labor Statistics), there were more than 50,000 non-fatal foot injury cases in 2015. During that time, employees spent an average of 10 days away from work recuperating. That equates to lost productivity and lost profits for businesses.

My medical practice is my life's calling. My goal, however, is for every patient to avoid the suffering of a long recovery after surgical foot procedures.

Unfortunately, preventing debilitating foot conditions for employees when they stand for a majority of their workday may be a pipe dream. That is unless employers support their workers in the quest for maintaining healthy feet for life.

Industries and Foot Injuries

Workers who stand for long periods usually work in fields such as:

  • Delivery
  • Foodservice
  • Hospitality
  • Industrial

Foot Pain is Often the First Indication of a Foot Problem That Shouldn’t Be Ignored

Along with general work fatigue, they may experience foot fatigue, leg fatigue, flat feet, and other mishaps while standing all the time at work.

Plantar Fasciitis is another common foot ailment. The symptoms include aching pain or tender pain in the arch or bottom of the heel. When walking, the discomfort comes and goes. Therefore, this affects their job performance when a painful episode suddenly occurs.

The Best Way Employers Can Support Their Workers and Lower Foot Injury Incidents

My patients tell me that although they stand for long durations, they would rather not sit all day. They just want to have healthy, pain-free feet.

I believe businesses can support their employees by following these easy steps.

  1. Remind Employees to Take Care of Their Feet

The American Heart Association recommends that everyone should take care of their feet to prevent heart issues.

Keep oxygen in the body's circulatory system flowing correctly by:

  • Wearing shoe inserts because they provide relief for many types of foot conditions
  • Buying shoes that fit with your orthotics
  • Washing feet daily to prevent odor
  • Wearing clean socks made of an acrylic-blend to counter moisture
  1. Ask Employees to Exercise Their Feet Regularly

Michigan Medicine of The University of Michigan suggests exercising the feet to relieve pain.

  • Before standing in the morning or while on breaks, bend your foot up and down.
  • Stretch your toes by putting a towel around the back of your toes. Keep your knee straight, and with the towel end in each hand, pull the towel toward you. Hold for 15 seconds, three times each foot.
  • Perform toe-stretching exercises by flexing the toes.

I'd like to add another helpful tip:

  • Bring another pair of shoes to change into midway through your workday.
  1. Provide Customizable Arch Support Insoles

Every reputable medical journal I've read mentions orthotics as a proven remedy for foot ailments. As stated earlier, you can suggest employees try arch support inserts, but if you provide the inserts for them, that is even better! I can only recommend what works for me and my patients and that happens to be orthotic insoles.

I wear shoe inserts daily inside and outside of my medical practice. The only product I trust is SelectFlex Arch Control Insoles SelectFlex Arch Control Insoles.

The award-winning insoles relieve pain for several different conditions including:

  • Achy feet
  • Arch pain
  • Arthritis foot
  • Back pain
  • Diabetic foot
  • Flat feet
  • Heel pain
  • Hip pain
  • Knee pain
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Neuroma (pinched nerve/benign tumor)
  • Neuropathy (nerve damage that causes weakness/numbness in feet

Over the past few months, several of my patients have begun wearing inserts with their shoes. Soon after they put them on for the first time, they tell me they will never be without them. They also wonder why no one told them about the product sooner.

I suggest businesses stock up on orthotic insoles. I believe that is the best way to support employees who frequently stand while they work. When you invest in your team, you safeguard your greatest asset. Learn more about customizeable arch supports and you'll understand what I mean. Text 844-600-0082 or call (844) 570-1862 today.

 

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HEALTHY FEET + HAPPY WORKERS = HEALTHY BUSINESS

HEALTHY FEET + HAPPY WORKERS = HEALTHY BUSINESS

Understanding The Work Environment

Workers who walk or stand for long periods of time during their workday, without proper foot support and shock absorption, are susceptible to pain and harmful musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) that can have lasting effects on the body. Just as steel-toe footwear is often required as personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers, insoles are essential for preventing pain and fatigue.

If workers spend hours on their feet, there is an increased risk for inflammation and excess muscle fatigue that could be avoided with proper foot support and insole comfort. Aches and pains in the body associated with foot issues can also impact workers knees and back. Understandably, this can result in reduced employee work productivity, lower morale and increased absenteeism. Thankfully, solutions exist today that can reduce the negative impact of the environment on employees’ feet.

Healthy Feet Start With Smart Corporate Decision Making

In order to address foot and lower extremity issues within their workforce, companies are predominantly choosing between insoles and floor matting. Personal insoles offer numerous advantages over floor mats (Occupational Health & Safety). These benefits include:

  • Portability: Insoles can be implemented instantly without training and go wherever the worker goes. This makes them an ideal solution for both stationary and mobile workers who work both indoors and outdoors. Additionally, when a worker walks away from their workstation, the comfort stays with them. This option also protects employees who walk to and from work, ensuring they arrive and leave without strained or sore feet.
  • Personalize Comfort: Employees can select the type of insole that best matches their needs, allowing for personalized comfort for workers based on their foot size and arch type.
  • Direct Contact with the Body: As insoles are placed inside the footwear, they have 100 percent surface contact with the feet and body, 100 percent of the time, providing a reliable ergonomic solution. Therefore, they’re far more effective than the standard anti-fatigue floor mats at reducing muscle strain, improving balance reactions and increasing blood circulation. This helps to prevent pain and injuries.
  • Reduced Risk: Insoles reduce the risks of slips, trips and falls, making the workplace safer and lowering expenses related to workers’ compensation claims. Facilities that utilize matting, must make sure to keep the surfaces clean and well-maintained so that they remain intact and the edges don’t curl up and create tripping hazards.
  • Less Maintenance: Insoles are often machine washable, making them extremely easy to keep clean compared to mats that build up dirt over time.
  • Easy to Implement: Insole programs are simple to implement, particularly if you have conducted a wear test trial with a key group of employees first.
  • Cost Effective: Insoles are more affordable than floor matting. Top end cost for a floor mat is approximately $200 with higher end insoles at approximately ¼ that cost.

Rather than an afterthought, the right insoles should be considered as a necessary complement to any corporate health and wellness program. Implementing a company insole program is an important decision and all aspects should be considered, including employee involvement, to ensure the program meets the needs of all workers, and has a positive impact and acceptance rate.

How To Make Those Workers’ Feet Happy

The rank and file know that proper supportive insoles will help address physical work requirements such as prolonged standing, static postures, over-exertion and repetitive motion. The right insole provides better balance and overall lower body alignment. This in turn reduces aches, pain and injuries on the job. Another added benefit is that once an insole program is instituted, the confidence level for safety leaders will be increased.

(Corporate Wellness Magazine)

Finding an insole provider that offers numerous customizable and comfortable options allows companies and employees to explore a range of solutions for both plant/ warehouse and office workers. Insoles that provide shock absorption can be used to prevent health and pain issues, while others provide more support to align the foot into the proper neutral position.

A new insole, SelectFlex provides companies with a unique and cost effective way to offer their employees dynamic customization for their arch while, providing maximum comfort. With SelectFlex PowerLift Arch suspension system, the wearer is able to control the support level and dynamic firmness provided to the arch. This unique Arch-Control Insole has earned SelectFlex the honor as Best Foot Protection Product of 2020 by Industrial Safety & Health News (ISHN Awards), additionally, this superior technology will translate to improved employee foot health, reduced fatigue, higher productivity and lower injury/illness associated costs.

Different work activities, types of footwear and other factors within a corporation can impact the level of safety, comfort and support required. Therefore, it’s important to provide anti-fatigue solutions with multiple customization options. SelectFlex allow users to adjust support easily and quickly when these factors impact comfort, support and balance.

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