Objectives: This nested case-crossover study examined the association between rushing, distraction and walking on a contaminated floor and the rate of slipping, and whether the effects varied according to weekly hours worked, job tenure and use of slip-resistant shoes.
Methods: At baseline, workers from 30 limited-service restaurants in the USA reported average work hours, average weekly duration of exposure to each transient risk factor and job tenure at the current location. Use of slip-resistant shoes was determined. During the following 12 weeks, participants reported weekly their slip experience and exposures to the three transient exposures at the time of slipping. The case-crossover design was used to estimate the rate ratios using the Mantel-Haenszel estimator for person-time data.
Results: Among 396 participants providing baseline information, 210 reported one or more slips with a total of 989 slips. Rate of slipping was 2.9 times higher when rushing as compared to working at a normal pace (95% CI 2.5 to 3.3). Rate of slipping was also significantly increased by distraction (rate ratio (RR) 1.7, 95% CI 1.5 to 2.0) and walking on a contaminated floor (RR 14.6, 95% CI 12.6 to 17.0). Use of slip-resistant shoes decreased the effects of rushing and walking on a contaminated floor. Rate ratios for all three transient factors decreased monotonically as job tenure increased.
Conclusion: The results suggest the importance of these transient risk factors, particularly floor contamination, on rate of slipping in limited-service restaurant workers. Stable characteristics, such as slip-resistant shoes, reduced the effects of transient exposures.