Locator Safety & Appreciation Week (LSAW) is a celebration of utility locators’ hard work and an acknowledgment of the hazards they face every day in the field. Locators play crucial and often underappreciated roles in protecting the public and our underground infrastructure. Take some time this week to thank a locator in your life! We’ll be sharing locator safety content throughout the week to spread awareness of the difficult work they perform. Learn more about LSAW and how to participate at locatorsafety.com.
Locator Safety Hazard: Punctures & Foot Trauma
A 2005 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics study found that, across all industries, there were 60,000 reported foot injuries every year. These injuries were caused by everything from electrocution to simple slips. No matter the cause, a foot injury has the potential to compromise the mobility of a locator, jeopardizing their livelihood as well as their wellbeing. By nature of the job, locators learn to expect the unexpected from the ground they walk on each day.
Common foot hazards
- Punctures from below. Nails and other small, sharp objects can pierce through the bottom of footwear and puncture the foot. Foot punctures, no matter how small, then carry the more serious threats of infections, like tetanus.
- Impact from above. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 80% of all footwear injuries are caused by an object weighing less than 30 pounds impacting the foot.
- Uneven ground. Sudden changes in the levelness of the ground, not uncommon in locating, can cause ankle sprains and breaks.
- Puncture-resistant footwear
- Steel or composite toe safety footwear
- Vigilant attention to changes in walking/working surface