Should my restaurant have a non slip shoe policy?

Should my restaurant have a non slip shoe policy?


As a general rule, employers CAN require employees to wear certain items of general `street clothing’ and require employees to bear the expense. Where the employer fronts the costs, this is in essence a `loan’ to the employee. The employer must provide prior notification and obtain, in writing, authorization from the employee for the amount to be recovered by a payroll deduction. There is no shortage or reasons why it is a good idea to implement a non-slip shoe policy in your restaurant. As well, stipulating the company that your employees buy their shoes from insures that the shoes are in fact quality non-slip shoes that are also backed by a guarantee.

A non-slip shoe program saves time and money. A single worker’s comp claim can affect your experience factor history and your composite rate. If you are member of the WRA RETRO program, claims could affect your loss ratio to the point where refunds are not available. Even after the employee is rushed to the doctor and their station covered, you will have a significant amount of paperwork to do. As the employee, the hospital, the insurance company, and the corporate office try to sort out the accident, the blame seems to fall on the manager on duty. A slip resistant shoe program saves you from these headaches.

It’s important to also remember that not all slip resistant shoes are created equally. The measure of traction on a slip resistant shoe is called the “Coefficient of Friction” or CoF.  For slip resistant shoes this is measured under wet/oily conditions. Shoes should have a rating between 0.54 and 0.76. This greatly exceeds, and in some cases doubles, the ratings on shoes sold by some retailers as “non-slip.” As an employer you can stipulate the company that you want employees to buy the shoes from, and it’s a good idea.

Instituting a slip resistant shoe program with a company like SR Max, or Shoes for Crews insures that all of your employees will be wearing shoes that are truly slip resistant. They also create promotional materials that specify which models are approved by your company. By offering a simple payroll deduction plan you can insure that all of your employees can get their new shoes right out of training. A few companies even offer a limited indemnity program for restaurants that use their payroll deduction program to back up their shoes by offering $5,000 in coverage for a slip and fall that occurs while the employee is wearing their shoes.

Restaurants should strongly consider investing the time in developing a slip resistant shoe program. The headaches caused by slips and falls are not limited to the employee on the way to the hospital. A quick look at some of the statistics relating to restaurants, worker’s compensation insurance rates, and the ramifications of a poor safety rating, shows that a non-slip shoe policy is more than a safety precaution, it’s a strategic business decision that will save you money.

A personal testimonial on the worth of slip resistant shoes.

“We instituted a policy about 4-5 years ago whereby all employees had to have slip resistant shoes within 30 days of starting employment. Since doing that, no one has slipped and fallen while wearing the shoes. That is the good news. The bad news is that there were several falls by persons who were still in the 30 day grace period, not wearing the slip resistant shoes.

“Some companies have pull-over shoes that fit over street shoes that work just as well-just not too stylish. We keep a stash of those on hand in all sizes and loan them to employees until they get their own shoes. Since doing that, no slips at all.”

“As to the insurance benefits, our experience modifier is now @ .80. The shoe policy, along with a mandatory steel mesh glove while using a knife policy, has cut (no pun intended) our claims to virtually none”

Helpful Links:

Occupational Safety and Health Standards – Protective Equipment

DOL Letter Clarifying Rules on Footwear


Model Shoe Policy for Teen Restaurant Safety

Prevent slips, trips and falls

Useful planning sheet

How and why to prevent slips trips and falls

Department of Labor

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