15 Jun 2023

In step with safety

Wearing safety shoes could increase the risk of falling, according to a new study. Researchers examined the impact of wearing the protective footwear on a user’s balance when they unexpectedly trip.

They looked at recovery strategies after a trip and the action of the leg and foot. They found that the shoes had a negative biomechanical effect and could make it more likely that a wearer would fall following a trip compared to someone in regular footwear.

Safety shoes are mandatory in some work environments and are a commonly used form of personal protective equipment. The research could help improve their design to give users more stability as well as protecting their feet.

The study, published in the journal Applied Ergonomics, said: “Occupational slips, trips, and falls are serious issues affecting safety and having major economic consequences.” It added “Overall, wearing safety shoes was found to have a negative effect when having to circumvent a trip, and potentially this increased the risk of falling.”

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