What Style Shoes Should Food Service Staff Wear?
When Fund members reach out to our school risk management experts for guidance, there’s a good chance other members need similar help. In the collaborative spirit of risk pooling, we’re sharing our response to a member question about driver license point systems.
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.
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. Single straps are 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 grounds-keeping crews handling 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.
- 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.
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 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.
More Member Questions Answered
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Editor's note: This article was originally published in November 2021. It has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Risk Solutions Staff
The TASB risk solutions team includes risk solutions consultants and communications professionals who deliver training, consultations, articles, and resources that help Fund members control losses and their associated costs.