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Work. 2019 Aug 16. doi: 10.3233/WOR-192947. [Epub ahead of print]

Selecting slip resistant winter footwear for personal support workers.

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Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada.
Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada.
Saint Elizabeth Research Centre, Markham, ON, Canada.
Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, ON, Canada.
Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.


BACKGROUNDFalls are among the leading causes of occupational injuries for workers exposed to outdoor winter conditions such as Personal Support Workers (PSWs). Slip resistant footwear is known to reduce the risk of falls, however, it is difficult to predict how well a particular boot will perform prior to purchasing them. Our recently developed Maximum Achievable Angle (MAA) test can be used to rate footwear objectively to address this gap.OBJECTIVETo rate the slip resistance of a selection of winter footwear that meet the needs and preferences of PSWs.METHODSWe selected 40 representative types of footwear based on survey results from 677 PSWs and applied our MAA test to rate slip resistance.RESULTSComfort and slip resistance were rated the most important features for selecting winter footwear. Of the 40 types of footwear tested, six were found to have a good slip resistance on ice.CONCLUSIONThe vast majority of winter footwear that meet the needs and preferences of PSWs, perform poorly on ice. Therefore, PSWs should consult our website ( for selecting appropriate footwear that will keep them safe in the winter.


Slips; falls; footwear; homecare workers; icy surfaces; outdoor workers


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