Laboratory studies of slip-resistant footwear to reduce slips, trips, and falls have shown promise in reducing slips, but limited field research made it difficult to demonstrate if slip-resistant footwear actually reduced injuries. NIOSH researchers evaluated the effectiveness of a no-cost-to-workers, highly-rated slip-resistant shoe program in preventing workers’ compensation injury claims caused by slipping on wet or greasy floors among food services workers.
Approximately 17,000 food services workers participated in the study. Investigators looked specifically at workers’ compensation injury claims caused by slipping on wet or greasy surfaces, the type of incident that the shoes were designed to prevent.
The worker group who were provided with highly-rated slip-resistant shoes saw a 67% reduction in claims for slip injuries; whereas, there was no decline seen in the group who did not receive the highly-rated slip-resistant shoes. The findings revealed a baseline measure of 3.54 slipping injuries per 10,000 months worked among the intervention group, which was reduced to 1.18 slipping injuries per 10,000 months worked in the follow-up period when slip-resistant shoes were provided.
Another finding from this research was that prior to the no-cost slip-resistant footwear intervention, workers over 55 years old had a higher probability of a slip-related workers’ compensation injury claim than workers under age 55. Without intervention, slipping injuries may be an increasing injury problem for older workers.
This research helps to bridge the gap between understanding the performance of slip-resistant footwear in laboratory settings to understanding the effectiveness of slip-resistant footwear at preventing injuries in a functional work envi¬ronment.The findings from this study provide evidence of the effectiveness of slip-resistant footwear and may assist employers, manag¬ers, and workers in their decision on whether to invest time and resources in a slip-resistant footwear program.
This study was recently published in the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health.
Bell, J. L., Collins, J. W., & Chiou, S. (2019). Effectiveness of a no-cost-to-workers, slip-resistant footwear program for reducing slipping-related injuries in food service workers: a cluster randomized trial. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 45(2), 194–202. https://doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.3790