Does slip resistant footwear reduce slips among healthcare workers? A randomised controlled trial

Cockayne S, Fairhurst C, Zand M, Frost G, Liddle M, Cunningham-Burley R, Hewitt C, Iles-Smith H, Green L, Bain E, Mogradia M, Torgerson DJ
Record ID 32016001078
Authors' objectives: Slips, trips and falls are the main cause of accidents in the workplace. Last year, over 100,000 people hurt themselves as a result of a having a slip, trip or fall at work. This was the cause of about 40% of all of the injuries which had to be reported to the Health and Safety Executive. These injuries can have a major effect on the individual as well as the people who employ them. It has been estimated that one million days were taken off work in 2012/13 due to injuries caused by slips, trips or falls. People working in health and social care, report the highest numbers of slips and trips where they work. Hospital staff are more likely to slip because of the type of flooring they have to walk on. The floors are often smooth as this makes them easier to keep clean and reduces the spread of diseases; however, these types of floors become very slippery when they are wet or dirty. Some staff visiting patients at home will have no control over the type or condition of the flooring they walk on. One possible way of reducing the number of slips and falls people have could be for them to wear slip resistant shoes. The aim of this study is to find out if slip resistant shoes can stop hospital staff from slipping, falling or hurting themselves. We will recruit participants from staff working in NHS trusts who have to follow a workplace dress code policy and who have a mobile phone. These will include doctors, nurses, ward clerks and cleaning and catering staff working both in the hospital and those who visit patients at their homes. Staff will be sent an information sheet about the study and details of the trial coordinator to ring for further information. Volunteers will be asked to sign a consent form and fill in a questionnaire. We will recruit at least 4,400 participants and they will have a 4 to 6 week run-in period where they will return weekly text messages to the team. Those who complete the texts will be randomly allocated to one of two groups using a computer program. Participants will either receive one free pair of slip resistant shoes to wear at work or asked to wear their own work shoes, but will be given a free pair of slip resistant shoes when they have finished the study. We will text everyone once a week, for 12 weeks, asking if they have had a slip or a fall and if so how many and if they were injured. If they report a fall or an injury we will ring them to find out further information. Participants will also be given a weekly paper diary in which to record details of any falls or injuries. Once a month we will ask the people wearing the shoes how often they are wearing them. We will ask some participants to return their shoes so that we can test how worn the soles are. Our sample size is large enough to give us 80% power to show a reduction in the number of particiants who fall from 5.5% in the control group down to 3.5% in the intervention group (36% reduction). The sample size will also give us 90% power to show a 30% relative reduction in the number of people who slip. Our team is experienced in running this type of study. It includes experts in slip and trip prevention, clinical trial methodology and conduct, statistics and health economics. The Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust's Ward Management Task and Finish Group have agreed to act as lay advisors for the study. We will send a summary of our findings to all of the trial participants and NHS Trusts managers where the study was run. We will also publish our findings scientific journals, conferences and websites.
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2021
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: England, United Kingdom
MeSH Terms
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Health Personnel
  • Shoes
  • Accidental Falls
  • Occupational Injuries
Organisation Name: NIHR Public Health Research programme
Contact Address: NIHR Journals Library, National Institute for Health and Care Research, Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre, Alpha House, University of Southampton Science Park, Southampton SO16 7NS, UK
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Copyright: Queen's Printer and Controller of HMSO
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