Monday, November 19, 2012

Can a Shoe Prevent a Fall?

Proper footwear is a critical component in preventing slips, trips, and falls. Footwear needs to be appropriate for the task. Someone working in the dirt will benefit from wearing a shoe or boot with deeper tread and larger cleats. Others that work on hard surfaces (and need less of a cleat for traction) should be looking at slip-resistant footwear. 

So the answer to the question, “Can a shoe prevent a fall?” is yes! Slip-resistant footwear works. While many shoe manufacturers provide good slip-resistant products, researchers indicate three shoes seem to be leading performers: Red Wing Shoes with the StarGrip outsole, Shoes-for-Crews, and Lehigh Safety Shoes with the Spider Grip outsole.  

It is important to replace footwear when it becomes worn or damaged—and since most slips occur when the heel slides forward, it is especially important to have traction on the heel of the shoe. The two-penny method is an easy assessment to check for shoe wear: if the worn area is larger than two pennies, the shoe will not produce the slip-resistant qualities desired.   

Some things I would like you to consider are:

  • Do you have a written footwear policy?
  • Is footwear replaced on a routine basis? (How often? What time of year?)
  • Do employees wear appropriate footwear for the conditions both inside and outside? 
  • Do employees wear footwear with slip-resistant soles in smooth or wet conditions? 
  • Do your employees check their footwear periodically (like a Personal Protective Equipment inspection)? How often? 

What’s your city’s footwear policy? Let us know.

by Andy Miller

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