Footwear causes about 24% of industrial slip and fall injuries.
Slips, trips and falls are common in every workplace and are the second-leading cause of lost-worktime injuries.
Wearing the right type of shoes can make a big difference in reducing injuries. Slip-resistant footwear is a tool and wearing the appropriate shoes can make an employee’s job safer and easier.
Slips happen when there isn’t enough friction or traction between a person’s feet and the surface they are walking on. Challenges can range from office workers wearing smooth-soled shoes into production areas, to selecting the wrong style of safety footwear, to wearing shoes beyond their life cycle to the point that minimal tread is left.
Consider these when choosing slip-resistant shoes:
Know the environment: When selecting footwear, it is important to know what is making a floor slippery. Shoes designed to be slip-resistant in wet, outdoor conditions may not be effective on a floor coated with oily overspray or chemicals. Likewise, shoes designed for hospital or restaurant workers dealing with water or food-based oils may quickly degrade in industrial cutting oils
Know what’s available: The slip-resistant footwear market has grown significantly over the past decade. Footwear is now available for many different work environments. Ask safety footwear manufacturers and suppliers for recommendations that match your specific needs. They will likely offer to test the footwear to demonstrate how it will work in a given environment
Conduct a risk assessment to identify slip, trip and fall hazards. This involves evaluating every walking surface in and around your facility to determine hazardous and dangerous conditions. Slips, trips and falls can occur in any area of your facility and can injure any employee
Bring a camera to take photographs: Begin in the parking lot, assess entrance doors, mats and floors then inspect every area in and around the facility, corner to corner. Include stairs, elevators, offices, restrooms, break rooms, walking paths, kitchens, production floors, etc.
Engage employees: Survey employees from various areas in your assessment process. This will help uncover conditions which may be common, however, may not be apparent or exist on the day or time of the assessment
Prioritize findings: A slip, trip and fall audit can produce a lengthy list of findings. As with other risk assessments, it is important to prioritize each finding by the probability and severity of any potential negative outcomes. You must also determine which problems you can eliminate and which you will need to control and manage
Communicate: Discuss risk assessment findings with stakeholders or your safety committee and develop an action plan designed to eliminate and/or manage hazardous conditions to help prevent these painful and costly injuries. Set timelines and hold people accountable
What to look for. Slips & Trips can be caused by:
Walkway surfaces that are in disrepair
Liquids that spill onto a floor
Dusts, granules or particles that accumulate on a floor
Wearing the wrong type of footwear
Improper floor cleaning techniques
Weather related conditions, such as rain, snow and ice
Transition areas with drastic changes in coefficient of friction
Uneven and defective flooring
Any area that requires an employee to step or down
Ramps and gang planks without skid-resistant surfaces
Polished or freshly waxed floors
Loose flooring, carpeting or mats
Uneven sidewalks, including curbs
A variation of ¼” or more on a walking surface