In short: If your non-slip shoes are slippery, clean the environment from contaminants that could lead to accidents, like water and oil. Other forms of debris like small rocks, glass, and loose food can become lodged in your work shoes increasing the likelihood of an accident.
In today’s modern world, there are no shoes that are entirely slip-resistant. So, if you’re wondering why your non-slip shoes are slippery, you’ll find out how to solve the issue below.
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About non-slip shoes
If you work in the food service industry, medical service industry, or manufacturing industry, chances are you are required to wear non-slip shoes in your workplace.
Non-slip shoes are safety and occupational footwear. They are designed to significantly reduce slips, trips, and falls in order to keep you safe and protected from different injuries.
According to the CDC, food service employers as well as other types of employers can help prevent slip injuries by providing 5-star rated slip-resistant shoes to workers.
There are four things that make shoes “non-slip”.
First, the soles are made of rubber. Non-slip shoes typically have rubber soles or synthetic rubber soles. The material is designed to improve the grip on slippery environments.
Second, the soles have intricate tread patterns. The tread pattern on slip-resistant shoes prevents liquids from becoming trapped under your sole, which causes trips and slips.
If your shoes have a flat design, they are probably not non-slip, as they discourage liquid from moving away from the bottom of the shoes. You’re more likely to slip and fall.
Third, non-slip shoes have thicker soles than regular shoes. The thick soles provide comfort to the wearer as well as avoid ankle, foot, and back pain while standing.
Fourth, non-slip shoes are made with water-resistant materials. While the soles of non-slip shoes are made from rubber (or something similar), the uppers are often waterproof.
Water-resistant materials are designed to protect your feet from contact with a wet floor or surface spills and keep them dry throughout your shift in your workplace.
Why are your non-slip shoes slippery?
Non-slip shoes can become slippery if the environment is not frequently cleaned of contaminants that could lead to accidents, like water and oil.
Other forms of debris like small rocks, glass, and loose food can become lodged inside the tread patterns of your work shoes, increasing the likelihood of slips, trips, and falls.
To understand why non-slip shoes become slippery, you need to understand the science of slipping. A shoe slips because it loses friction (the shoe is unable to stop moving).
To illustrate: High-performance tires are able to grip the road very well, but once a pool of oil comes into play, the slip resistance of the tires is significantly reduced.
The amount of friction available, which determines the slip resistance of a shoe (or a tire), is determined by many factors, including the flooring being walked upon, the sole’s composition, and the tread—even the internal sole affects the slip resistance of a shoe.
Remember, although your shoes are labeled “non-slip” and have met strict standards, you need to understand that, unfortunately, no shoes are entirely slip-resistant.
Instead of searching for the most slip-resistant shoes, the best thing you can do is frequently clean the work environment of contaminants that could lead to accidents, like water and oil.
Restore the slip resistance to your non-slip shoes
Now that you know why your non-slip shoes have lost their slip resistance, it’s time to take action. Here are two things you can do to fix your slippery non-slip footwear:
1. Make sure the workplace is free of contaminants
The best thing you can do to restore the slip resistance to your work shoes is to frequently clean the work environment of contaminants that could lead to accidents, like water and oil.
Whether you are an employer or an employee, be proactive to ensure that the surfaces of the workplace are free of potential slip hazards. If you are an employee, tell your supervisor.
Or, take matters into your hands and clean the workplace.
2. Make sure debris isn’t lodged on the bottom of the shoes
Because non-slip shoes have intricate tread patterns, small debris can make its way onto the bottom of the shoes. This can potentially cause your non-slip shoes to become slippery.
For example, small debris like loose food, pieces of glass, and tiny pebbles can become lodged inside the tread patterns of your work shoes, increasing the likelihood of slips, trips, and falls.
Before going to work, do yourself a favor and inspect the bottom of your work shoes thoroughly. Doing this simple task can mean the difference between a solid grip and a landslide.