In facilities where floors may be oily or wet, selecting and using proper footwear can play a significant role in preventing fall accidents. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single piece of footwear that has anti-slip properties for every condition. Therefore, jan/san distributors recommend that BSCs check with their footwear supplier to assist in choosing the best option for certain applications.

Slip resistant is a specific term given to footwear that reduces the likelihood of slipping. Terms such as oil resistant, fat resistant, acid resistant, alkaline resistant, or skid resistant do not mean slip resistant. Slip-resistant shoes are different from tennis shoes. They increase traction in slippery environments by using special sole materials and tread design. These differences result in a sole that is softer and more pliable. These special tread designs effectively channel liquids up and away from the bottom of the sole.

In the cleaning industry, slip-resistant footwear is typically used to improve traction and protect workers from slip-and-fall injuries when stripping old finish from floors, during a scrub and recoat, or working in wet conditions.

There are several types of slip-resistant footwear options available for BSCs. Jan/san distributors say they offer two different go-to options — waterproof overshoes used for stripping floors, and strap-on traction shoes used for wet surfaces.

Waterproof overshoes or “stripping shoes” are designed to reduce the risk of slipping when stripping floors or anytime floors are wet and slippery, such as when cleaning restrooms and gym showers.

“[They are] designed to help you not fall during stripping a floor,” says Hal Kurz, owner of WinPro Solutions, a distributor in Lenexa, Kansas. “Stripper when put on a floor is very slippery.”

This footwear usually is a rubber type overshoe or galoshes that are to be worn over a janitor’s existing shoes. They are waterproof, chemical resistant and designed for slip prevention. Slip-resistant soles are easily attached or replaced with secure Velcro strips that are permanently attached to the bottom of the boots. As an added benefit, they also keep footwear clean, dry and away from harsh chemicals.

“The galoshes fit over your shoe and have Velcro on the bottom,” says Kurz. “The black pad attaches to the shoe, so when they wear out you can put a new set on.”

The other style of traction footwear is a form fit, strap-on shoe that pulls over the front and rear of a janitor’s shoe, covering the sole. This style, a cheaper alternative to the overshoe, also provides additional traction during floor stripping. Janitors can easily pull these on and off, and the elastic design firmly secures to any shoe. Strap-on soles are temporary and will need to be replaced when the stripper breaks down the soles.

“You should purchase the right slip-resistant footwear for the right job,” says Hall. “Some people need disposable slip-resistant shoe covers and others want slip-resistant shoe covers they can clean and reuse.”

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