Footwear in the Workplace

One of the more common accidents that can happen at work is one where you slip or trip and fall. The result can be anything from mild annoyance through to a serious accident due to falling on something dangerous.

Many slips, trips and falls can be easily prevented by improving the grip performance on your work shoes.

Non-slip shoes or work safety boots can go a long way to improve the level of safety in your workplace.

Footwear-related workplace issues include:

  • A slip, trip or fall due to footwear inappropriate for the environment.
  • Crushed toes or feet due to inadequate safety boots.
  • Impaling of the foot because of weak soles or inappropriately light footwear.
  • Disease or other contamination as a consequence of poor foot protection.
  • Long-term muscle pain incurred by incorrect work-prescribed footwear.

Who Is Responsible for Safety in The Workplace? Is the Employer Responsible for Footwear?

It doesn’t occur to most of us to even ask this question – we assume that our shoes are our own responsibility.

We choose them for comfort or durability rather than reading up about safety footwear standards and picking shoes based on their excellent multi-directional slip-resistance. But should employers be taking a greater level of interest in the footwear of their staff?

Under the health and safety guidelines, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) is provided where there may be a risk to health and safety while at work (Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 – Regulation 4).

It also states in Section 9 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 that no charge should be made to the employer for provision of PPE.

Ultimately, this health and safety footwear policy means that where there is a risk to your health and safety if you do not have the right footwear, that your employer should provide appropriate footwear for the workplace and that you should not be charged for it.

Slips due to environment rather than slip-resistant footwear

If there is a spill at work that makes the floor wet and consequently causes you to slip, is this due to inappropriate footwear?

The answer here is no. If during the usual course of events the floor is clean and not overly slippery, it is not the employer’s responsibility to provide you with anti-slip shoes for work.

Separately, they do have a duty of care to ensure the floor is cleaned up in a timely manner and properly sectioned off while it is a hazard and thus might still be responsible for a fall – but not because of work shoes.

However, if the floor is typically a slippery surface and forms a known slip and tripping hazard, then having shoes as part of the personal protective equipment list is the employer’s duty – as well as providing other means to mitigate the risk, such as a handrail in that area and appropriate signage.

Slips, Trips and Falls in the Workplace

If you have suffered a slip, trip or fall in the workplace that was not your fault, then you may be entitled to compensation.

Our expert advisors at Cute Injury will be able to assess the situation for you – give us a call today to see how we can help you.

If you believe your employer should be providing specialist footwear for your work, then bring it up in an appropriate forum – in a regular catch-up meeting with a superior or an appropriately scheduled chat.

Choosing Work Footwear

When choosing the appropriate footwear for your job, take the following into account:

  • Look for safety features, such as toe protection. If you regularly lift heavy loads, or work with equipment that might crush or damage your toes, you should have safety boots with appropriately reinforced protection.
  • Make sure you pick comfortable safety shoes. You are going to be wearing them for a long period during the day and you should not have to suffer blisters or other foot problems due to your workplace safety and footwear needs.
  • Read the sole descriptions for an accurate understanding of the grip and anti-slip features. If you are buying kitchen safety shoes, for example, then you will need a grip capable of resisting grease and oil that may come as part of the natural ebb and flow of a busy kitchen.
  • Buy shoes appropriate to the environment. A heavy boot is not a good idea in an office environment, and office shoes are poorly suited for a building site. Wear footwear to match your location.

If you are an employer, looking for shoes for your staff then remember you have some power to get a good deal based on a bulk purchase and repeat business.

Ask potential suppliers for test samples of the footwear for you to try out before picking a final shoe and see if you can get a discount from a large sale. Don’t just trust a shoe based on the brochure or website description.

When testing footwear with staff, make sure you get a broad sample - don’t just take one person’s word for the effectiveness of a shoe.

Taking Care of Footwear at Work

It is not enough to have the right shoe – it is also important to take care of it. Make sure your shoes are clean from mud and grease before you wear them. Pay particular attention to the sole and ensure the grip is dirt-free.

Employers should have a regular routine for checking that boots and shoes are in an appropriate condition.

If you have an accident at work where your footwear was shown to be badly kept, unclean or in a state of disrepair, then you will have a much harder time proving liability for a compensation claim.

Compensation for a Footwear-Related Accident at Work

At Cute Injury, our expert advisors and solicitors will work with you to claim the appropriate amount of compensation due to you as a consequence of an accident in the workplace.

We work on a No Win No Fee basis because we believe that everyone has the right to professional representation if they have been injured in a situation that was not their fault. No Win No Fee means that you pay nothing for our services should you lose the case.

You can contact us for free today. There are no hidden charges or fees and we will work diligently to secure you the compensation you deserve.

If you have suffered any injury because of a lack of the correct personal protective equipment, then contact us at Cute Injury today to see if we can help you with a compensation claim – or fill in our contact form for us to call you back at a time that is convenient for you.

CALL US FREE ON 08000 10 60 66 or use our CLAIM CALCULATOR

Cute Injury can help you begin your potential claim, get in touch with us today

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