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Does Slip Resistant Footwear Reduce Slips Among Healthcare Workers? A Randomised Controlled Trial (SSHeW)

The Stopping Slips among Healthcare Workers (SSHeW) trial investigated the effectiveness of shoes with proven grip in preventing slips, trips and falls in hospital settings.  It was found that hospital staff wearing the footwear had significantly less falls and therefore the shoes are effective and should be considered in healthcare settings to reduce the risk of injury to staff.  

Why did we do this research?

Nearly one million working days are lost because of slips, trips and falls each year and they are the main cause of accidents within the health and social care workplace. This study investigated whether slip-resistant footwear is more effective at preventing slips in the workplace compared to usual footwear. 

What did we do?

The study involved hospital staff split into two groups; one group wearing 5-star GRIP-rated slip resistant footwear and the other wearing their usual footwear. Slips, trips and falls of both groups were self-reported via weekly text message over 14 weeks along with other outcome measures. 

Who was involved?

The 4400 participants were recruited from seven NHS trusts in England and were staff over the age of 18 who worked in a clinical, catering or general hospital environment and worked more than 22.5 hours per week. 

What did we find?

The study found that there were significantly less slips, trips and falls in the group who wore the slip resistant footwear compared to the control group. It was also found that the time until first slip was longer in the group wearing the slip resistant footwear compared to the control group. 

What have we learned? 

The results of the study show that 5-star GRIP-rated footwear does reduce slips in the workplace and could also be cost effective in terms of workdays lost due to accidents. 

What happens next?

The findings may apply to other settings and high-risk environments outside of health and social care such as manufacturing and food-processing 


Cockayne S, Fairhurst C, Zand M, Frost G, Liddle M, Cunningham-Burley R, et al. Slip-resistant footwear to reduce slips among health-care workers: the SSHeW RCT. Public Health Res 2021;9(3) doi;

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The research was commissioned by NIHR HTA programme (Award ID: 15/05/28) and a grant of £911,493.51 awarded. The project was started in October 2016 and completed in November 2019.

Study registration

The study was registered on the ISRCTN register:


The SSHeW study - Stopping slips among healthcare workers: a research study about slip resistant footwear in the NHS workplace


Department of Health Sciences, University of York, York, UK

  • Michael Zand
  • Emily Bain
  • Misbah Mogradia

Health and Safety Executive, Bootle, UK

  • Gillian Frost
  • Mark Liddle

Health and Safety Executive, Buxton, UK

  • Heather Iles-Smith

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds, UK

  • Lorraine Green

National Institute for Healthy Research, Leeds Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit, Chapel Allerton Hospital, Leeds, UK