TASB Risk Management Fund
INSIDERM

Your School Risk Management Questions Answered

November 17, 2021 Communications Staff

Employees working in kitchen

The Fund maintains a laser focus on Texas public schools and the unique risks that threaten your resources. When you reach out for guidance on preventing incidents, we know there’s a good chance other members need similar help. In the collaborative spirit of risk pooling, we’re sharing Risk Solutions Consultant Ryan Boyce’s response to a recent member question about footwear.

Member question

Is it okay for employees in our child nutrition kitchens to wear “croc-style” shoes?

Why it matters

Slips, trips, and falls cause 35 percent of workplace accidents in the educational services sector, according to Texas Department of Insurance data. They also account for the lion’s share of claims among Fund members with Workers’ Compensation coverage. If an injury causes an employee to miss work, leadership might have to pay overtime or hire a temporary employee.

Ryan’s guidance

TASB risk solutions consultants don’t recommend the specific footwear our member asked about. The product has a single strap around the heel that’s designed to keep the shoe on the foot. Unfortunately, single straps are too often used improperly—or not used at all. The result could be a serious fall.

A similar shoe that offers the same comfort but with a closed toe and heel is the safer choice. You should also remember that footwear, including croc-style shoes, can be tested and certified for slip resistance.

Choose the right footwear for the job

Manufacturers offer a variety of shoes, boots, and other protective footwear. Your employees should choose the right product for the job and the hazards. For example:

  • Slip-resistant shoes are essential personal protective equipment for food service staff. Employees who work with or near hot liquids can protect themselves against burns by wearing leather-top shoes.
  • Maintenance employees should consider non-conductive footwear when working around electrical hazards. Footwear with metal toe protectors is a solid option when handling heavy objects.
  • Liquid-proof, unlined overshoes or boots protect groundskeeping crews handle pesticides.
  • Teachers and administrative staff are best served by sturdy shoes with cushioned, nonskid soles and flat heels. That means no high heels, sandals, open toes, or flip flops.

Shopping tips

  • Choose a store that specializes in the type of footwear you need.
  • Let a professional help you choose the right product for your feet.
  • Make sure you have at least one-half inch between your toes and the front of your shoes.
  • Shoes should firmly grip your heels.
  • Try footwear on in the store, and walk on a hard surface if possible.

Maintenance tips

Strategies for getting the most life out of your footwear vary by type and manufacturer, but these general tips apply in most cases:

  • Inspect footwear regularly. If you see a worn spot the size of two pennies on the sole, it’s time for new shoes.
  • Remove insoles and laces from wet boots, and stuff them with newspaper.
  • If shoes or boots are exposed to dirt or chemicals, wipe them down with warm water and a cloth at the end of the workday.
  • Keep your footwear clean, dry, and stored away from dust, extreme temperatures, direct sunlight, and moisture.

Lean on our experts

Ryan and his peers are strategically located around the state. They serve as our boots on the ground, offering region-specific insight and expertise that promotes long-term relationships with your team. Make your dedicated consultant the first call for advice, tailored hazard surveys, service plans, and training.

Tagged: "employee safety", Safety, "slips trips and falls", "workplace safety"