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Workplace foot injuries a serious problem for older workers

Pennsylvania workers' compensation

Study finds foot injuries at work common, on-the-job injury lawyer reports 

Work-related foot injuries have become an increasingly serious problem, especially among older workers, according to workplace accident statistics compiled by the federal government. Fortunately, there are steps older workers – and workers of all ages – can take to protect their feet and their safety, and to remain healthy on the job. 

How common are workplace foot injuries? 

Each year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a federal government agency, compiles workplace accident data about a wide range of work-related accidents. According to the latest BLS numbers compiled in 2018, the number of work-related foot injuries continued to climb. 

Bullet list 

  • In 2018, there were 47,180 work-related foot injuries nationwide, according to the BLS. 
  • In 2017, there were 45,000 work-related foot injuries nationwide, according to the BLS. 
  • Those figures represent a 4.8 percent or 2,180 total injury increase from 2017 to 2018. 
  • In 2018, those 47,180 foot injuries at work included: 
    • 12,450 fractures and broken bones 
    • 5,640 foot or ankle sprains 
    • 11,270 bruises to the foot or ankle 
  • 6,580 foot injuries involving soreness or pain 

These injuries often result in numerous missed days of work, decreased productivity and higher health care costs. These figures also serve as an important reminder of just how dangerous workplaces can be and why worker safety must remain a priority at all times. 

Why are workplace foot injuries so common? 

Foot-related workplace injuries happen for many different reasons, including: 

  • Unsafe working conditions 
  • Lack of safety training  
  • Improper footwear for work 
  • Lack of protective gear for feet 
  • Unmarked hazards (water on ground, etc.) 

While work-related foot injuries can occur at any workplace, foot injuries often occur at construction sites, according to a 2018 article about work-related foot injuries by Occupational Health & Safety (OHS). 

Why do workplace foot injuries affect older workers? 

Ideally, awareness about work-related foot injuries would result in a decrease in the number of these accidents from one year to the next. As the BLS data in 2018 and 2017 showed, however, the problem is only getting worse.  

In a recent 2020 OHS article about work-related injuries, on-the-job foot injuries have increasingly become a serious problem among adults over the age of 55. That’s partly because there are more older workers on the job than ever before, and those numbers are only expected to grow. 

In 2016, there were 35.7 million workers over the age of 55 nationwide, according to OHS. By 2026, that figure is expected to skyrocket to 42.1 million, an increase of 17.9 percent or 6.4 million more workers over the age 55 years old.  

What can older workers do to avoid workplace foot injuries? 

Older workers – as well as workers of all ages – can take steps to protect their feet from being injured at work. This may also require increased safety efforts by employers, as well. Steps include:  

  • Taking periodic breaks throughout the day 
  • Staying well hydrated at work, especially on hot days 
  • Workers resting their feet to avoid joint and ankle pain 
  • Wearing protective foot gear, if necessary 
  • Wearing puncture-resistant insoles, if necessary 
  • Providing proper safety training for workers 

These are just some of the steps employers and workers can take to protect their feet and their overall safety.  

What should I do if I sustain a workplace foot injury? 

Unfortunately, accidents happen to even the safest workers. If you have sustained a foot injury on the job, we recommend taking the following steps: 

  • Do not walk on your foot, if possible. You could make your foot injury worse. 
  • Seek immediate medical attention. 
  • Tell your supervisor you sustained a foot injury on the job. 
  • Talk to a workplace accident attorney right away. 

The more you know about your legal rights after your on-the-job accident, the better. If you hurt your foot, or any other part of your body, at work in Pennsylvania, contact Vellner Law, PC, in Bethlehem, PA and schedule your free consultation. We proudly handle workplace injury accidents and represent injured workers in the Lehigh Valley and throughout Pennsylvania. 

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