Why Safety Boots Are Missing The Mark In The Waste Sector

Posted by Lizzie Allen 3 May 2018

The collection of waste from the kerbside is one of the highest risk activities in the waste sector.

In fact, Environmental Services Association (ESA) data shows waste collection accounts for nearly half of all injuries in this industry.

The main types of injury are:

  • Slips, trips and falls, accounting for 40% of non-fatal injuries - when working around refuse collection vehicles
  • Manual handling and impact injuries, accounting for 31% of non-fatal injuries  - when moving waste containers for uplift

That means a shocking 71% of all reported incidents are slips, trips, falls, manual handling and impact injuries. The ESA also notes there's been 'little variation in this trend between previous reporting years'.

Clearly the high number of these incidents is of great concern to all Health, Safety and Procurement professionals working in the waste sector. But how do you go about reducing the risk?

Much Ado About FEET

Bad news first

Municipal street scene and waste collection workers are on their feet all day, often walking all the way to Istanbul and back in a year (figuratively speaking of course). That's roughly 3,000 miles which means a lot of wear and tear for safety boots.

This can lead to:

  • Decreased comfort and lower morale
  • Reduced effectiveness of protection against punctures, impacts and other hazards
  • Increased chance of slips, trips, falls and other related accidents
  • Higher possibility of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSD's), which account for 39% of all work-related ill-health

And what does all that cost your business?

  • Sick pay
  • Lost productivity
  • Legal costs and injury benefit

The Good News

Our completely free Safety Footwear Guide gives you all the valuable information you need to:

  • Make the best footwear selection
  • Care for and maintain safety boots
  • Keep your workforce's feet safe and comfortable

This will ensure you're choosing the right safety boot for the job and keeping footwear in good nick, reducing the likelihood of the hazards and injuries mentioned earlier.

But the good news doesn't stop there...

Technology Is Paving The Way For Smart Insoles

New foot profiling technologies are letting us take a bespoke approach to each individual worker's needs.

By using a foot scanning service, users can be individually tested for insoles that are proven to help prevent MSD's, such as Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).

The process for this should be very straightforward, taking only a few minutes for the scanner to register the arch of the foot, the feet's measurements and points of pressure.

Results are usually available directly and display where the feet are under pressure. This lets you understand whether the insole arch needs to be low, high or somewhere in-between.

What Else?

Insoles now provide many more benefits than simply adjusting the arch of the foot.

  • Extra heel support
  • Temperature regulating air holes
  • Front and rear shock absorption zones
  • Control bars for enhanced stability
  • ESD properties which remove static electricity build up

Don't Let Feet Suffer Unnecessarily

It's commonly known boots are one of the highest procurement expenses in the waste industry. But the truth is, neither boots, insoles or foot profiling services need to be expensive.

As a leading waste sector specialist in personal protective equipment (PPE), we've got a great deal of experience in keeping feet comfortable and protected at cost-effective prices.

In fact, through data proven in research with major waste sector players such as Biffa, we know we can supply great safety boots from just a few pounds a week per person.

So, if you're interested in finding out how you can improve cost-efficiency in safety boot procurement, or you want to learn more about the foot profiling services we offer, please feel free to reach out.

Otherwise, download our free Safety Footwear Guide to read later!