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Factors associated with use of slip-resistant shoes in US limited-service restaurant workers
  1. Santosh K Verma1,2,
  2. Theodore K Courtney1,3,
  3. Helen L Corns1,
  4. Yueng-Hsiang Huang4,
  5. David A Lombardi1,3,
  6. Wen-Ruey Chang5,
  7. Melanye J Brennan1,
  8. Melissa J Perry3,6
  1. 1Center for Injury Epidemiology, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, Hopkinton, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
  3. 3Environmental and Occupational Medicine and Epidemiology Program, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  4. 4Center for Behavioral Sciences, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, Hopkinton, Massachusetts, USA
  5. 5Center for Physical Ergonomics, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, Hopkinton, Massachusetts, USA
  6. 6Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, The George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Santosh K Verma, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, 71 Frankland Road, Hopkinton, MA 01748, USA; santosh.verma{at}


Objectives Slips and falls are a leading cause of injury at work. Several studies have indicated that slip-resistant shoes can reduce the risk of occupational slips and falls. Few studies, however, have examined the determinants of slip-resistant shoe use. This study examined the individual and workplace factors associated with slip-resistant shoe use.

Methods 475 workers from 36 limited-service restaurants in the USA participated in a study of workplace slipping. Demographic and job characteristic information about each participant was collected. Restaurant managers provided information on whether slip-resistant shoes were provided and paid for by the employer and whether any guidance was given regarding slip-resistant shoe use when they were not provided. Kitchen floor coefficient of friction was measured. Slip-resistant status of the shoes was determined by noting the presence of a ‘slip-resistant’ marking on the sole. Poisson regression with robust SE was used to calculate prevalence ratios.

Results 320 participants wore slip-resistant shoes (67%). In the multivariate analysis, the prevalence of slip-resistant shoe use was lowest in 15–19-year age group. Women were more likely to wear slip-resistant shoes (prevalence ratio 1.18, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.31). The prevalence of slip-resistant shoe use was lower when no guidance regarding slip-resistant shoes was given as compared to when they were provided by the employer (prevalence ratio 0.66, 95% CI 0.55 to 0.79). Education level, job tenure and the mean coefficient of friction had no significant effects on the use of slip-resistant shoes.

Conclusion Provision of slip-resistant shoes was the strongest predictor of their use. Given their effectiveness and low cost, employers should consider providing slip-resistant shoes at work.

  • Slips
  • falls
  • injury
  • restaurants
  • slip-resistant shoes
  • personal protective equipment
  • safety
  • gender
  • database
  • biostatistics
  • fracture
  • methods
  • surveillance
  • international
  • occupational

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  • Funding Funded by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Institutional Review Board of the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety and the Office of Human Research Administration at the Harvard School of Public Health.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.