When we think of safety in relation to footwear we may initially think of construction, outdoor professions, manufacturing or other similar trades. However, footwear selection can be just as important for emergency medical professionals (EMS).
Common hazards related to footwear for EMS professionals:
- Uneven terrain
- Unfamiliar location with potential obstacles
- Often poor lighting
- Potential wet conditions
- Possibility of stepping in contaminants such as blood or chemicals
- Travel up and down stairs
- Getting in and out of vehicle
Protective footwear worn in the workplace is designed to protect the foot from physical hazards, including falling objects, stepping on sharp objects, heat and cold, wet and slippery surfaces as well as boot styles to stabilize the ankle and foot.
Shoe type, material and fit are all important characteristics of proper footwear. Overall, ensure
that your footwear is close-toed, non-slip and closed-heel. Footwear should also be comfortable, especially if you are on your feet for long periods of time.
Good footwear should have the following qualities:
- The inner side of the shoe must be straight from the heel to the end of the big toe
- The shoe must grip the heel firmly
- The forepart must allow freedom of movement for the toes
- The shoe must have a fastening across the instep to prevent the foot from slipping when walking
- The shoe must have a low, wide-based heel