Safe footwear is crucial in any industry, as there are hazards all around us that can be prevented by wearing shoes that are specially designed to combat these dangers. It doesn’t matter if you’re working a chef, a butcher, a fishmonger or even a theme park assistant, safe footwear is a necessity and you need to ensure that your business has a safety policy in place to help protect your employees from injuries. Not everyone knows how to implement these policies, though, so here’s how to plan and write a safety shoe policy for your business.
In fact, providing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as footwear that keeps workers safe is required by law, as the Health and Safety Executive, along with local authorities, are responsible for enforcing the HSWA as well as a number of other Acts and Statutory Instruments relevant to the work environment. While employers must create a safe working environment and look after the health and safety of others, they also need to provide and maintain safety equipment, and that includes safe footwear such as slip-resistant shoes where there is a hazard of slipping, tripping and falling. To comply with the rules and regulations, your business needs to implement a policy in writing that all of your employers must follow, including aspects such as your goals, assigning responsibility as well as the steps your business will take to implement this policy.
Before you can even put your shoe safety policy into practice for your business, though, you need to know the 12 safety footwear requirements so that you and your employees have the safest footwear possible that meets your requirements.
Clearly Highlight Your Policy
The first step to take is to highlight what your policy is and what it is that you’re trying to prevent in your workplace. For example, your business might be a restaurant and you could be trying to improve safety in the kitchen.
As mentioned above, slips, trips and falls are the most common kitchen hazard so this hazard could be what you place at the top of your policy, citing ‘slip, trip and fall prevention’ as your main goal. Your policy should indicate that your business is encouraging its staff to wear safe and comfortable shoes, and how the footwear will be provided - either by the employers or in a scheme such as a payroll deduction policy, with everyone required to adapt to the changes. However, if slip-resistant footwear has been deemed necessary to keep workers safe as outlined in your health and safety policy, then all PPE has to be provided by your business to employees free of charge, and replaced when appropriate. In the matter of necessity, you cannot deduct wages from employees to compensate for the shoes.
Mention The Safety Device
Once you have clearly highlighted what your safety policing is targeting, it’s important to mention which safety device your business is implementing, and what your employees will be required to wear. In this instance, you could highlight the one slip-resistant shoe you want everybody employed in your restaurant to wear, but this can differ industry to industry.
You can have more freedom here too, as you may choose to offer a variety of safe styles tailored to chefs, and then completely different styles for waiters and waitresses, or one style for the front desk in your hotel and a different style for the cleaners, but they will all have the same goal in mind, to prevent slips, trips and falls in the workplace. However, since not all people’s feet are alike, it’s best to consult with your employees to determine which styles work best for them. You may provide a few options to choose from.
Include The Date Of Implementation
The next crucial step to planning and writing a safety shoe policy for your business is to include the date of when the policy comes into effect. The implementation date is an important factor to include, as your employees will be given enough notice to prepare for the changes rather than being surprised by the sudden change when they turn up to work as the date wasn’t highlighted in the policy, and they will remain unsafe in the workplace because of this oversight.
Your safety shoe policy doesn’t need to go into great detail at this stage, as simply outlining the month and the year of when the policy will be implemented will suffice.
It’s also important to assign the safety shoe policy to somebody within the business, as they will be able to continue reminding employees about the changes, updating them on progress or even regularly purchasing newer styles.
The person who has been assigned to this policy should be held accountable for the contribution they’re making, and the most effective way of making your shoe safety policy a success is to assign the role to somebody in the top level of your business, as communication of the policy works best when it comes from the top to the management level, and then from management to the employees who are adhering to the new shoe safety policy.
Highlight The Desired Outcomes
Those who will be affected by the shoe safety policy need to know why the changes are being made, so it’s imperative that the policy indicates what the desired outcomes of the new policy are, and what you’re hoping to achieve both in the short and long-term. Include what you’re aiming to eliminate and how the changes are going to improve working conditions and keep everyone safe.
For example, your policy might include that you’re aiming to eliminate slips and trips in the kitchen area, along with wanting to eliminate the heavy matting in the kitchen area which, in turn, will reduce the workload as employees will no longer have to lift and clean the heavy mats as they will be wearing safe, slip-resistant footwear.
Mention The Steps You’re Implementing And The Procedure
The next step in planning and writing a safety shoe policy for your business is to mention the steps you’re implementing, what the procedure will be and what employees will be required to do to follow the policy. If the steps aren’t listed, then they won’t know what their role is in this policy and might be at risk of not having the safe footwear by the date of implementation mentioned earlier in the policy.
An example of the steps you should highlight in the shoe safety policy for your restaurant business could include:
1. Each kitchen employee will need to order one of the suggested slip-resistant shoes by [date of implementation]. Order forms are provided by management.
2. Mats in the kitchen will be removed once all employees have purchased (or have been provided with) a slip-resistant safety shoe.
3. Employees will be required to wear the slip-resistant footwear during the work hours beginning on [date of implementation].
4. Footwear is not to be removed during work hours at the facility, and are only to be worn at the facility. Footwear will then be stored in designated lockers.
5. Safety coordinator will complete a weekly report of employee comments during the first month of testing the shoe safety policy, taking all comments on board and emailing results.
6. Feedback will be given on general comments after full implementation, and any changes will be made if necessary.
While this step guide is catered to a restaurant business, any industry can utilise this method for their business and add it to a shoe safety policy for employees to understand and follow.
Include General Comments
The shoe safety policy of your business should also include some general comments that will answer any potential questions the employees will have, all in one place. The general comments are those you need to note down while writing out the rest of the policy and think that those affected will require more information.
Using the above policy, your general comments might include how they can return their slip-resistant shoes if the size is incorrect, and including the steps they need to take to return or exchange them. The general comments might also include that you will be keeping a record of the shoes all employees have ordered, and will reorder the same style if it ever needs replacing and even adding that you will provide a catalogue if employees prefer to purchase more slip-resistant footwear so they have a variety and can order and purchase on their own.
It’s important that the shoe safety policy for your business clearly defines your goals and follows an effective guideline to make your policy a success. Regardless of the industry you’re in, there’s safe footwear available for your workplace that you can implement in your shoe safety policy.
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