"The Resource Centre For Hazardous Area Professionals"

Social Media

Watch Your Step: Protecting Against Slips, Trips And Falls

Print PDF
User Rating: / 0

Watch Your Step: Protecting Against Slips, Trips And Falls

Slips, trips and falls are the most common cause of injury at work, causing 29% of all non-fatal injuries to employees.

Slips, trips and falls are the most common cause of injury at work, causing 29% of all non-fatal injuries to employees . Despite this, slip and trip accidents tend to be seen as an avoidable, reasonable risk, something to expected throughout the everyday working routine. With 70,116 non-fatal employee injuries under RIDDOR last year… that equate to more than 20,333 injuries by slips, trips and falls, does this sound simple and avoidable to you?  

Wearing the right type of protective footwear could be the key to decreasing these figures. (Read More)


What does the law say?

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations stipulate employers must comply to EU laws, providing workers with the correct certified footwear.  Employers have a direct responsibility for assessing the risks and protecting the health and safety of their workers. Purchasing the correct, compliant footwear is critical in doing this.

Some employees are responsible for purchasing their own safety boots and  therefore workers must be educated about their specific needs, what safety standards mean and which features are required, ensuring optimum protection.

Assessing and reducing the risk

It’s important to invest in footwear that is suitable to the environment you work in – do you work in wet, outdoor conditions? Does the floor have a tendency to get slippery? Can your footwear keep up with the pressures of your work setting?  Some of these questions may seem obvious but it’s vital to consider these factors. Footwear that performs well in the wet conditions might not be suitable on oily surfaces, for example .
Fortunately, footwear is now available for many different work environments, however, it’s choosing a quality manufacturer that guarantees protection and matches your specific needs is the key to happy feet at work.

Safety First

Safety footwear must comply with the ISO safety standard: ISO 20345:2011, ensuring all features such as materials, toe caps, insoles and slip resistance are manufactured with adequate protection.

Key features in protective footwear to prevent slips, trips and falls include anti-slip, waterproof, breathable, ventilating and insulating material. With many products, you tend to get what you pay for – in this respect footwear is no different.


No boots are slip proof, though slip-resistant boots help to reduce hazards and improve safety. To ensure footwear is anti-slip, it is tested according to the main ISO safety standard: ISO 20345:2011, in various conditions. Once footwear passes tests, specific codes are given indicating protection for certain hazards:

SRA – tested on ceramic tile wetted with dilute soap solution
SRB – tested on smooth steel with glycerol
SRC – tested under both the above conditions.


Workers suffering from wet feet, may find it harder to concentrate as they could become more concerned about their comfort, rather than the job in hand. This could lead to an accident.

To be labelled as waterproof, boots should adhere to the EN ISO standard: 20345/20347. This is the minimum European standard manufacturers should achieve. HAIX boots exceed this standard, using a GORE-TEX® membrane whose microscopic pores are 20,000 times smaller than a drop of water, ensuring the boot is completely and durably waterproof.

Breathable, ventilating, insulating

Other key footwear features to consider, include breathable and insulating materials. To keep feet ventilated when working hard, uppers (the part of the shoe covering the top, sides, back and toes of the foot) should be made from the appropriate leather or breathable material. This will ensure workers aren’t thinking about their feet and lack of comfort or feeling inadequately insulated in colder temperatures.

Wellbeing starts from the feet up and investing in quality, compliant protective footwear ensures workers are protected and able to perform at their best. The importance of footwear as a core element of protection should never be underestimated, especially as instances of slips, trips and falls remain so high.

Simon Ash, UK Sales Manager at HAIX

For more information about the boots you need to protect your feet visit,