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Could work issued shoes cause my stress fracture

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I work for a supermarket working 35 hours a week, where I wear non-slip work issued shoes. Flooring is concrete tiles. Other supermarkets in the area of the same company have smoother floors.

 

I've been off sick since the 22nd May with a very painful lower leg, just above the ankle bone. I couldn't walk on it and put on some weight on it. From scans, it has been confirmed I have a stress fracture, on the end of the tibia. Been put into a cast for 4 weeks, then a walking boot cast for 4-6 weeks after that. I don't do any sporting activities outside work.

 

These work issued shoes are the most uncomfortable shoes ever. Other colleagues say similar things. I work 8 hour shifts and by I have done 3-3.5 hours, my feet are crippling me. Earlier this year, I did ask a HR colleague, who doesn't work there anymore (so no comeback), could I have some new shoes and she asked, how long I had them and I said 15-18 months and she said that that's too early to replace them. I don't have issues with my own shoes which I wear outside work. I have also put in insoles into my work shoes and needed the bigger size as it made my feet tight in them.

 

My job involves a great deal of standing and walking. I had a look at the colleague intranet, which we have access at home and they state that we are not allowed to wear our own non-slip/safety shoe. They provide just one type and they presume everyone's feet are the same. That is not the case.

 

I'm a member of an union, so I will get in touch with the rep later this week as on holiday til Wednesday.

 

I am worried that once I return to work, I will be forced into wearing those horrible shoes and risking my health even more - plus I'm more prone to getting further stress fractures. I am thinking, should I change jobs as my job has somewhat contributed towards my injury. Then some potential new employers may not want to know about someone who has had at least 3 months on the sick very recently.

 

If its my work issued shoes that caused the injury, would that then be classed as a workplace injury? During my last 2-3 weeks, before I was off sick, I have asked supervisors that I needed to sit down, more times than in the past. I cannot sit down on my job all the time.

 

There is always at least one colleague off sick with some sort of leg, foot or back problem from standing/walking too much in these shoes and on the flooring. I am the first one in my store to have a stress fracture on the leg.

 

Apart from speaking to my rep, is there anything I need to do?

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Whether your shows have caused you physical injury, a stress fracture, is really a medical diagnosis, not something anyone here could say. Maybe they did, maybe they didn't. Or maybe not directly to do with the shoes but the nature of the work, ie standing up/walking all the time. But if you wanted to make a claim that the work equipment issued to you has caused you injury you would need expert medical evidence and if medical evidence did show that you'd also need legal advice about whether that gave you a claim against your employer. This can best be pursued at this point by your union.

 

Presumably they are mandatory for health and safety reasons? Do you know why specifically? Is it because they need to be non-slip? Or be reinforced in case heavy objects fall on your feet? Or oils or acids resistant or something like that?

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Your union should be able to negotiate (if they haven't done already) that staff can wear their own shoes as long as they comply with the standard required for your job (steel toe cap, non slip, oil resistant etc.)

Then you can buy the shoes that suit your feet and even though they won't be cheap, your health is paramount.

If you can somehow prove that wearing those shoes cause the fracture, then you could claim compensation, but I doubt any doctor would put a signature on such report.

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They are mandatory for working certain departments such as the counters and if you are on the shop floor most of the time. I am a general assistant and work across the supermarket to meet with the store's demands. So sometimes I go on the checkouts for covering the lunches or if there is someone off sick on the deli, I help them out.

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They are mandatory for working certain departments such as the counters and if you are on the shop floor most of the time. I am a general assistant and work across the supermarket to meet with the store's demands. So sometimes I go on the checkouts for covering the lunches or if there is someone off sick on the deli, I help them out.

 

I can totally understand that the shoes are uncomfortable. But it is really very unlikely that they caused or contributed to the stress fracture. The kinds of pressures that cause a tibial stress fracture are not going to be exerted by shoes.

 

Assuming that you haven't been sky diving (and landed on your feet) or bungee jumping, you need to get THOROUGH checks of the following (by thorough, I mean insist on it! The NHS can be lousy at being thorough) - osteoporosis; and if not that tibial tendonopathy. The latter can be easily overlooked, but when it is it can lead to serious damage to the ankle and loss of mobility, and it is a major reason for stress fractures in the tibia. And the treatment is pretty scary - major surgery which may or may not work! How do I know? I have it, and exactly the same thing happened to me! They believe that I actually have had at least two smaller stress fractures which I continued to walk on (because it was diagnosed as something else) before my ankle, on the last occasion, simply gave up the ghost and the tibial tendon actually broke, causing the bones in my ankle to collapse.

 

If they haven't ordered tests then argue and fight until they do. Then argue and fight until the find a reason. Ankles do not break for no reason, and shoes don't cause them to break (unless you fall off your platforms). Don't accept "s**t happens" because you may seriously regret it further down the line.

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Is it the shoes? Just jogging or even walking can cause stress fractures so a claim that the footwear is entirely responsible would be nigh on impossible to verify.

Now the employer buys their safety footwear via a catalogue so saying that only one sort of shoe is suitable is nonsense, there will be others available if they did but put a bit of effort into this problem. Get your union saftey rep to remind your employer that safety equipment is PERSONAL protection and therefore a good reason for refusing to let you choose a suitable shoe should be provided by them as the law is pragmatic in its approach to this and recognises that one size doesnt fit all (scuse the pun). There is a booklet published by the HSE on this part of the HASAWA, your employer and union will be familiar with it.

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So you don't think its my shoes. Think how many hours they have been worn! I work full time (35 hours). If they were 18 months old at the time of raising my request, they would have been worn for 2,350 hours! Then have been worn for probably another 350-400 hours since. So c2,750 hours. I walk between 5-6 miles a day on average. I have discounted annual leave and 1.5 weeks off sick as that was the amount of time I was off sick before now.

 

Apart from managers and team leaders, there are only another colleague that works 35 hours on my grade pay level. The rest work on average 18-20 hours a week. I can't comment on how often the team leaders change their non-slip shoes. The other full time colleague doesn't wear them. So, if any of these part time colleagues wear these shoes, they are only wearing them for half the time.

 

On a few websites about stress fractures, some put under the causes of SFs 'worn out shoes'. I know this information coming up are from walking websites, but they say replace the shoes every 500-600 miles! So, need mine replacing every 6 months, based on my experience! The part timers, once a year.

 

As I work twice the number of hours of the other colleagues, I wear my shoes twice more often than they do, so get worn out quicker. So do you think my employer needs to give me new shoes more frequently than the others? Plus I have requested new shoes at least once last year, perhaps twice. In the new year, I put a note requesting new shoes stating my size on top of some files outside the locked HR office as they only work mornings plus the odd afternoon - I work 2pm-10pm. About a week and a half later, it was one of those rare moments of seeing a HR colleague (the one who has left) and asked about my order. She said she didn't receive it, but its too early to order some.

 

When my union rep comes back later today, I will contact her tomorrow and ask if there is any wording on my employers' policies about when shoes can be replaced. If there isn't, so why have HR have said to me its too early to replace them?

 

The colleagues who I have contacted by text or Facebook messenger support my anger with the shoes.

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interesting subject must say not original cause for a fault - shoes? I must say a point for a conversation to-night at a meeting where subjects of choice can be aired hope it does not cost me money for a round of drinks for wasting time? but interesting all the same! never in 60 odd years heard that one.


:mad2::-x:jaw::sad:

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Guest Mrs Hobbit

Our boots used to be replaced every 18 months if not sooner, of course different country and different work, but it was mandatory to replace our boots once they started to wear as these do cause problems with feet. Why do your think the military does so much research into footwear?

 

http://chemicalengineeringmagazine.com/how-often-should-safety-shoes-be-replaced/

 

http://physioworks.com.au/injuries-conditions-1/stress-fractures

 

maybe the work boots are too rigid...

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I think there are 2 separate issues here, one is the injury that has at the moment no certain cause but a sniff of a possibility at being work related and the second is the employer failing to provide the necessary personal protection equipment. You must keep them separate in your discussions unless you see a medical specialist who ties them together and is happy to put pen to paper to that effect.

 

The idea that shoes last for 18 months in all cases is reason for a complaint by your union to your management, an inspection of the footwear will determine whether they are worn out or not! If they are then the employer CAN be reported to the HSE but to be honest getting a sensible pair of suitable shoes from the catalogue is not rocket science and the employer should wake up and just get on with signing the chit for the new ones.

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