Footwear in the Histology Lab

By: Clifford Chapman, MS, HTL(ASCP), QIHC(ASCP)

In this article, Clifford Chapman, recent recipient of NSH’s Leica Leadership in Teaching Award, shares his response to the question of slick floors in the lab and how to enforce proper footwear among lab visitors.


You must strictly enforce the "proper footwear" regulation in your safety program.

This includes all office staff and outside visitors; no proper footwear? no access to the lab. Period.

Rather than "slick floor" - what is happening is that the coefficient of friction of the carpeted office/area outside the lab is much different than the tile floor in your lab. Visitors will walk with the same gait and force inside the lab, that they were using outside on a carpeted area- which causes a slip and fall.

In the event that you are unable to enforce the regulation (i.e. your CEO is coming into the lab) I recommend that you/your designee meet all such visitors outside the lab, and explain the floor situation, and that they should walk slowly. Then, literally walk along with them in the lab - slowly.

During my 45 years in histology laboratories, the most severe injuries that I have seen have been caused by such slip and fall accidents: ranging from a concussion to a broken leg to stitches in the face - and some minor injuries in between.

One more option is to have one or two pairs of "moon boots" or special traction shoe coverings for visitors to use.

"This is a very serious topic, and labs must have a plan - and enforce it."
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