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Temporary staff miss out on anti slip footwear

A risk assessment in a food processing plant identified areas of high slip risk. One area was the room in which 'jelly' for pork pies was handled. This was despite frequent cleaning of the floor.

The company made a decision to restrict access into this area. Only staff wearing a new brand of wellingtons were allowed in. The special footwear afforded better grip than the normal boots still used in the remainder of the factory.

Staff shortages on the night shift resulted in an agency worker being transferred into the 'jelly room' to cover for the remainder of the shift. Unfortunately, supervisors failed to recognise the need to provide the more slip-resistant wellingtons to temporary staff.

The agency worker slipped and bumped into a person who was carrying a bucket of hot jelly. The jelly spilled onto his left arm causing burns.

After the accident, all supervisors and managers were instructed that controls identified by their own risk assessment were mandatory and all staff, including agency workers must wear the special footwear in the high risk area. In fact the company are now considering providing these boots to all staff on site.

As a further development even though the boots are more expensive, the company is introducing the new boots progressively in all seven of their factories, as they are convinced of their benefits in terms of grip, comfort and durability, which outweigh the extra cost.

11.03.09