Protecting your feet and back | Hasmate health and safety program
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Protecting your feet and back

Protecting your feet and back

I have a flat foot – but why is this important?

This is a common condition for many New Zealanders, with a simple solution (one that has a direct link to the workplace).

Why bring this topic up?

I was talking to my granddaughter, who along with her partner, is a sharemilker. She mentioned that her partner was having a lot of back problems, had to go on ACC, followed up with numerous visits to a chiropractor (which unfortunately has not solved the problem). I asked her what he wore as footwear on the farm and in the milking shed. “Gumboots, of course,” she replied, “He has done for years”.

Apart from the price difference, that one has laces, made of a rubber compound and the other doesn’t,

What is the difference between a pair of expensive Nike sports shoes and a pair of Red Band gumboots?  (Apart from the price difference, laces vs no laces, and what they are made out of).

One is moulded to fit the foot with an arch support, and it’s made fit for purpose.  The other (and any other branded gumboot) are one-shape-fits-all with no arch support – there lies the problem.

I worked in the meat industry for 23 years, and like hundreds of thousands of other New Zealanders, we all wore white gumboots as part of the job.  As a result, I developed my flat left foot, and for years, suffered from back problems, until I was advised to go to a chiropodist or foot specialist, who instantly diagnosed what had caused it.  This was followed by a number of sessions with a personal trainer who taught me back strengthening exercises.

This issue is  a workplace health and safety issue that I imagine is affecting thousands of dairy farmers and their employees across New Zealand. If you or someone you know suffer from back problems, there is a simple and inexpensive solution – get your feet checked.  If this issue is the problem, you can then use orthotics every time you wear gumboots, or if you are supplying these boots to your employees, you can supply them with correct fitting orthotics.

Please contact us if you would like to discuss.