Council reduces slip accidents amongst catering staff

A council was having problems with slips. Over a four year period 317 slip incidents had been recorded, 26 of which resulted in employees receiving a major injury or being off work for over three days. In an attempt to reduce the number of accidents in the kitchen and catering areas the council introduced various solutions over a five-year period:

  • Improved management of spillages and the cleaning regimes
  • Enforcement of sensible shoe policy
  • Improved housekeeping
  • Effective training, supervision and induction
  • Treatment of floor with a non slip screed where repeated slip incidents occurred

But, despite these good control measures, slips were still happening and the impact of these accidents was far reaching.  As well as the personal impact on employees from having an injury at work, the council found itself not only having to find staff to cover absences, but having to find money to cover the ever increasing personal injury claims submitted; in excess of £20,000 had been paid out just to settle 5 claims.

The council went back to the slips risk assessment to see what else could be done; the review revealed that protective non-slip footwear (PPE) for all at risk staff might be the answer.

Before making any significant purchases, the council carried out extensive research into the different types of anti slip footwear available, taking into account the environment the footwear was to be used in, the range of surfaces it would encounter, ease of cleaning, turnover of staff and the cost. As a result a non-slip overshoe was sourced and given to 50 mobile catering staff that worked within a number of different kitchens with a variety of floor surfaces and a footwear trial conducted. The trial lasted two months; during that time there were no slips to the employees that wore the overshoe.  

Feedback was gathered from staff on the overshoe slip resistant qualities, comfort when being worn, general fit and ease of use.  Some of the quotes from staff included:

  • "Comfortable and easy to wear, the shoes stopped me when I expected to slip"
  • "These shoes offered protection against slipping"
  • "You don't know they're on"
  • "I would not like to work in the kitchen without them now"

Following the success of the trial, a policy was formulated making it compulsory for all staff to wear the overshoes whilst at work.  The policy also extended to other personnel visiting and working in kitchens.

The overshoes were distributed at a total cost of around £18,000. In the 9 months, prior to their introduction there had been 4 reportable slip incidents and 21 non-reportable slips incidents. In the six months following their introduction, there were no reportable slip incidents, the first time since recording slip statistics began eight years previously. There was also a big impact on non-reportable slip incidents, the figure reduced from 21 to 10, a 52% reduction. An investigation revealed that in 8 of these incidents individuals had not been wearing overshoes at the time of the accident, due to not having received delivery or having to order an alternative size. 

The council was pleased to be finally making significant improvements in managing slip risk within kitchens and felt that the reduction in incidents would be maintained by the ongoing use of the non-slip overshoes. 

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