Did you know that slip, trip and falls are the most common cause of workplace injury, accounting for nearly 40 percent of all reported injuries? The National Safety Council estimates that more than $70 billion is spent annually for worker’s compensation and medical costs linked to falls that occur at work – and when it comes to accidental deaths, only motor vehicle accidents outrank slip, trip and falls. Slip-resistant shoes can help businesses reduce worker’s compensation claims, eliminate workdays lost due to injury, and retain employee productivity.
So, why so many slip and falls? Environment plays a huge role. Consider the myriad of contaminants that may enter your work environment, such as grease, water, and floor cleaning solvents. Then add to that surface changes, such as abrupt transitions from pavement to tile, linoleum, or carpet.
The bottom line is that employees who wear tennis shoes, heeled shoes or other inappropriate footwear increase their chances of slipping and falling because of inadequate tread on the sole or because the sole itself many not be made of the proper slip-resistant materials.
You may want to strongly consider developing a slip-resistant shoe program, especially if your business is a restaurant or auto service venture. Make slip-resistant shoes a part of the uniform and assure that managers follow up on this in detail. Unlike most of the other uniform requirements, this one exists for the safety of your staff and is there to reduce the potential of a huge employer’s liability loss. When implementing this program, keep in mind that you may want to limit the number of shoes which are approved for staff use. Doing so reassures that with a quick visual inspection you can confirm your staff members are compliant. Look for shoes with a label stating that the footwear is skid-resistant, and confirm that the footwear is rated with a “Coefficient of Friction” (CoF) of 0.4 or higher. Also consider these other footwear features:
- Laces that can be tightened (laced should always be tied)
- Soft and easy-to-clean material with a padded ankle for support
- Shoes made of a non-porous material
- Resistance to water and grease
- A tread that channels liquid out from under the shoe
Slip-resistant shoes are vital in high slip, trip and fall environments. For more safety solutions, browse through our Risk Control Library for handouts and useful websites to help facilitate your safety and health efforts.