Supervisors must be on guard for workers who wear inappropriate foot wear to work in the name of comfort or casual. Unless they have a medical release that provides clear guidance on what type shoes they must wear, they should be held to a consistent company standard. Unlike construction sites where hard-toed shoes are required, custodians tend to wear soft type shoes that may or may not have good traction or provide any serious level of protection to their feet and toes. A glaring example is for a worker to wear open toed sandals or “flip flops” that are not only a trip hazard by design but also exposes the toes and feet to possible injury. Many toe nails have been lost when a worker accidently ran a vacuum cleaner with a strong bar over their feet resulting in lost days and a workers compensation claim.

Workers should also be reminded of working at an appropriate pace that allows them to get their work done without increasing the chances of slipping or tripping. Encourage them to take the time to “do it right” with an appropriate stride and balanced posture while in motion. Stress to them not to make tight turns at corners to avoid running into someone else and to walk with the toes slightly out for better balance. Encourage them to use lighting where possible and to request a flashlight or other device before entering a dark room. Finally, encourage them not to try to carry so much at one time that they cannot see where their feet strike the floor in front of them.

Observing and training workers in proper foot wear and posture is important in reducing the possibility of an unnecessary injury. Please note the preceding is suggestive only since regulations will vary by government entity. It is highly recommended that reader consult with local SME (subject matter experts) on any safety related topic and use the preceding as a starting point. Go to for more information or use a search engine for local and state regulations. 

Your comments and questions are always welcome. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…


Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678.314.2171 or