Saturday, June 16, 2007

Flip flops and sumptuary law

Oldham Council in Greater Manchester have apparently banned staff from wearing flip flop to work due to health and safety fears. The ban is part of something the council call the ‘spills, trips and falls policy’. The council is concerned that flimsy footwear, such as thongs, encourage trips and falls in the work place. Whilst there is little independent evidence to show flip flop sandals are any more likely to cause tumbles that any other footwear, the embargo probably has more to do with the employers duty of care to prevent people at work from having an accident. Most obvious cause would be trauma to the foot due to a falling object and flip flop styled sandals are ideal for crossing flat surfaces whereas unkept floors or untidy walking surfaces would increase the potential to trip , slip or fall. Falls studies have identified women are more likely to trip and men slip. When a fall has taken place men will try to avoid another , whereas women are reluctant to change their shie and walking habits and hence more prone to a career of falls. In the great scheme of things most falls occur when the person is rushing and occupied usually attempting two things at the one time. In the ambulant, more people fall backwards than forwards, tend to fall more on flat surfaces then stairs and all falls are more likely to occur in bright light rather than dim conditions, with most falls happening in the afternoon.

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