Workers' experience of slipping in U.S. limited-service restaurants

Santosh K. Verma, Wen Ruey Chang, Theodore K. Courtney, David A. Lombardi, Yueng Hsiang Huang, Melanye J. Brennan, Murray A. Mittleman, Melissa J. Perry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The leading cause of injuries among restaurant workers is same-level falls, a significant proportion of which result from slipping. This study examines the experience of limited-service restaurant workers with slipping, their use of slip-resistant shoes, and their floor-cleaning practices. A total of 475 workers from 36 limited-service restaurants in six U.S. states participated in a 12-week prospective cohort study on slipping in the workplace. At baseline, participants completed a survey that gathered information about their demographics, perceptions of floor slipperiness, use of slip-resistant shoes, floor cleaning practices, and number of slips experienced in the previous 4 weeks. During the subsequent 12 weeks, participants reported their slip experience weekly. Restaurant managers reported kitchen floor cleaning protocols and shoe policies. The overall rate of slipping during the 12 weeks of the prospective study was 0.44 slips per 40 work hours. The mean of the individual rate of slipping varied among the restaurants from 0.02 to 2.49 slips per 40 work hours, a rate ratio of more than 100 among the restaurants with the highest and the lowest rate of slipping. Such a large variation, which is unlikely due to chance alone (p < 0.05), suggests that some restaurants are better able to control slipping than others. The highest numbers of slips were reported in the sink and fryer areas, which were also identified by restaurant workers as being the most slippery. Liquid and grease were reported as floor contaminants in over 70% of the slips. In restaurants where slip-resistant shoes were provided by the employer, 91% of participants wore them; whereas if they were neither provided nor encouraged, only 53.5% wore them (p < 0.01). Use of enzyme-based floor cleaners was widespread (25/36). In these restaurants, however, 62% of the participants who were responsible for cleaning floors reported using hot/warm water, thus violating the manufacturer's cold water floor cleaning protocol. These findings suggest that focused prevention efforts based on practices from restaurants with low rates of slipping could decrease slipping hazards. [Supplementary materials are available for this article. Go to the publisher's online edition of Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene for the following free supplemental resource: a pdf file containing key questions from the baseline and weekly surveys.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-500
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Fall
  • Floor cleaning
  • Injury
  • Restaurants
  • Slip
  • Slip-resistant shoes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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