Choosing the Right Shoe Cover

Areas where shoe covers are used vary across industries, but one thing is constant: you have to choose the right disposable shoe cover to meet your needs. While booties might get ranked pretty low in the overall scheme of things when it comes to what to focus on, choosing the wrong shoe cover can result in consequences that range from annoying and insignificant to chaotic and catastrophic. Shoe Inn can help you with clarifying the factors you are or should be considering for your shoe covers and the options we have that meet your needs.

Is it a cleanroom use?

Cleanrooms have stringent requirements, depending on the level of cleanroom. Two Cleanroom scientists wearing shoe coverscleanroom classification systems are widely used: FS 209E and ISO 14644-1. Shoe Inn shoe covers and both of our automatic shoe cover dispensers are validated for use in cleanrooms up to Class 100 (FS 209E) and Class 5 (ISO 14644-1). Our cleanroom certificates are available to download from our website.

How do the shoe covers fit?

Requiring your employees to wear shoe covers should not interfere with their productivity or be potentially hazardous. One consideration is how they fit. Too loose, they can fall off or be a tripping hazard. Too tight and they will be difficult to put on without tearing and resulting in wasted shoe covers and unnecessary expense. Shoe Inn shoe covers are one-size-fits-most and will go up to about a size 15 or 16. The way the opening is designed allows them to fit over larger shoes without tearing. On smaller feet, the dispensing action puts the heel at the rear of the shoe cover while any excess material will be at the front, curled up like an elf’s shoe, and therefore out of the way.

What type of flooring surface do you have?

unlucky carefree business man silhouette

Focus on the type of floor in your facility when selecting the type of shoe covers to supply for your employees and visitors. Smooth and slippery surfaces can lead to slips and falls. In this case, you’ll want to implement something with added traction like our Super shoe covers, which should address the concerns of your Environmental Health and Safety folks and anyone else who deals with worker’s compensation claims. Rougher surfaces can chew up shoe covers, which can lead to cleanliness/contamination issues along with additional expense from having to change shoe covers too often. In this scenario, you should strongly consider a more durable option like our Hybrid shoe covers, which also last longer on boots/shoes with “aggressive” tread.

Do you need them to be waterproof?

While this consideration is trivial or irrelevant in most instances, sometimes shoe covers need to be waterproof because of wanting to prevent liquid from penetrating the shoe cover and getting onto the shoe or vice versa, needing to prevent outside moisture (snow, rain, ice, mud) that might be on the shoe from getting onto the floor. Shoe Inn has several waterproof options, including the aforementioned Super and Hybrid shoe covers and our basic plastic shoe cover.

Choosing the right shoe cover for your application and environment is an important consideration. While cleanliness may be your first priority, you should also factor in employee and visitor safety, whether or not you need a waterproof shoe bootie, and how durable you need the shoe cover to be. If you would like any help deciding on the right shoe bootie for your industry, contact Shoe Inn today.

Shoe Covers in Specific Industries: Food

Cleanliness is vital in the food manufacturing/processing industry (growers, processing plants, etc.) in order to prevent contamination and avoid negative food safeiStock_000013166962Smallty headlines. Along with thorough hygiene practices and sanitation, wearing personal protective equipment such as gloves, beard covers, hairnets, and shoe covers can make a significant difference in reducing food contamination. Here are a few reasons why Shoe Inn shoe covers are crucial in the overall food industry:

  • Decreasing Outside Contamination

Tracking outside contaminants into clean environments on the bottoms of shoes is a iStock_000019685054XSmallpotential health hazard in the food industry. New shoe covers are clean and will keep any outside contaminants contained inside the covers, thereby preventing them from being introduced into food products.

Just as it is important to not introduce outside contaminants into the sanitary environment where food is processed/handled, it’s equally important to ensure nothing from the shoe covers gets left behind. Fortunately, the clips on Shoe Inn shoe covers have been designed so that they remain in place during application, wear, and removal.

  • Increasing Safety

Spills happen in the food industry and can be a significant safety hazard in terms of slipsunlucky carefree business man silhouette and falls. Some shoe covers are liquid proof and include non-skid/anti-slip coatings, helping to decrease slipping incidents and thereby promote safety.

Bottom line, shoe covers are an important piece of an overall food safety program and can also improve workplace safety in the food industry.

Three “Off the Beaten Path” Applications Where Shoe Covers are Used

The elevator conversation goes something like this: “We sell automatic shoe cover dispensers and shoe covers.” “Shoe covers?” “Yes, shoe covers or booties, like doctors wear.” “Oh yeah, hospital booties.” Other than hospitals, the usual suspects where shoe covers are used include pharmaceutical manufacturing, food processing, research and development, medical device manufacturing, etc. Less obvious applications include construction, real estate, and aerospace as well. Because most of us are not behind the scenes, we don’t realize there are dozens and dozens of industries where shoe booties are important. Here are three “off the beaten path” applications where disposable shoe covers are used:

  • “Dirty business”

Most often shoe booties are used in clean environments (for example, cleanrooms, laboratories, food processing facilities) where the intent is to keep outside contaminants iStock_000020583218XLargefrom entering for reasons such as hygiene, food safety, product purity, testing results integrity, etc. Why would “dirty” industries (like your stereotypical manufacturing that is oily/greasy/otherwise messy) use them? The reason is that when employees or anyone else who has been in the dirty area comes into the clean office space for lunch, a quick meeting, or to exit the facility, they put on shoe covers in order to keep the area clean and to prolong the life of expensive flooring. A thick fabric bootie may do the trick, but a heavy duty shoe cover that will stand up to aggressive boot treads and keep dirty contaminants inside the shoe cover may be advisable.

  • Filming and photography

Location sets for filming and photography may involve exclusive homes and fragile surfaces that deserve protection from scuffs, scratches, and contamination. Also, companies may want to protect their green screens when people are walking or posing on them. Depending on the surface, a plastic shoe cover may be appropriate because it is waterproof and inexpensive. Another option that is also waterproof but has superior traction is the Super non-slip shoe cover, which is the go-to when slippery surfaces are involved.

  • Textile services

Clean laundry doesn’t deserve to get dirty before it is put into use. No need to waste water and detergent for re-washing, right? Keeping large-scale laundry facilities clean is important in case the corner of a clean sheet or towel touches the ground, or a laundered uniform accidentally falls on the floor. A variety of types of shoe covers would work, perhaps a low cost fabric bootie.

Disposable shoe covers are ubiquitous and quite helpful in a wide variety of environments beyond the usual suspect applications. From military bases to national laboratories, child care facilities to parades of homes, energy production operations to battery manufacturers, shoe covers are a vital tool to keep environments clean and safe.

Top Seven Frequently Asked Shoe Inn Questions

Though we carry a few other products like disposable gloves, sticky mats, and overshoes, at Shoe Inn our focus is on shoe covers and automatic shoe cover dispensers. Let’s just say they’re our bread and butter! However, we know not everyone understands shoe covers and dispensers like we do. Therefore, we have compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about the Shoe Inn automatic shoe cover dispensing and removal system for your benefit.

Are Shoe Inn Shoe Cover Dispensers and Removers Easy to Use?

Stay-fusion-combo375-300dpiAbsolutely! Both dispenser models are easy to load and use, especially after doing it a few times. Take a look at the various loading and usage videos on our videos page to see how fast and easy it is. We also have loading and usage instructions that can be downloaded and printed. Our removers are very easy to use and are ergonomically-friendly as well. Not only are they incredibly simple, Shoe Inn shoe cover dispensers and removers help increase efficiency/productivity and safety in the workplace to boot.

Do Shoe Inn Machines Make it Safer to Put Shoe Covers on and Remove Them?

No doubt. Using our dispensers eliminates leaning against a wall or trying to balance on one leg while putting a shoe cover on the other foot (what we call the “bootie hop” or a worker’s comp claim waiting to happen), thereby avoiding possible falls, injuries and the potential worker’s comp claims that could result. In fact, prior to implementing our system, some customers have even had employees injure themselves while sitting on a gowning bench and putting shoe covers on. ASCR-33-shoe -cover-remover-hires-cropped

Just like putting shoe covers on manually, taking them off is also a hassle and can be dangerous (remember the bootie hop?). Using our automatic shoe cover remover eliminates the danger and will make your EH&S staff stress level go down to be sure.

How Does Using Shoe Inn Dispensers Increase Efficiency and Productivity?

Because it is a minimum of 4x faster to put shoe covers on with our dispensers, at least four people can get booted up in the same amount of time it takes for a person to put shoe covers on manually (see our Why Shoe Inn? video on the videos page). The faster that employees are able to boot up, the faster they can move to being productive where they are making the company money instead of costing money back in the gowning room.

Can My Company Save Money Using the Shoe Inn System?

On the surface, no, but dig a bit deeper and the picture changes. While our shoe covers may cost more than your regular shoe covers, our customers have found that the increased efficiency, productivity, and reduction in potential worker’s compensation claims more than offset the nominal difference.

Can Shoe Inn Products be Used in Cleanrooms?

Yes. Shoe Inn shoe covers and automatic shoe cover dispensers have been tested and validated for use in cleanrooms up to Class 100 and Class 5. Our cleanroom certificates are available here.

Do Shoe Inn Shoe Cover Dispensers or Removers Require Electricity?

No–our automatic shoe cover dispensers do not require electricity, which provides you the freedom to place your dispensers wherever you need them. This also allows you to use your valuable space in the most efficient way possible.

Because they only require a standard 120v electrical outlet, our removers can be easily deployed at any suitable location.

Can We Reuse or Recycle the Shoe Covers?

Our shoe covers are specially packed in a cartridge for easy loading and dispensing and thus cannot be reloaded into the Shoe Inn Fusion or Stay dispensers. Also, we do not recommend the reuse of shoe covers, because doing so would likely lead to contamination and defeat the purpose of using shoe covers in the first place. Regarding recycling, in theory the answer is yes, but we do not currently have a program for recycling. If you find or develop one, please let us know.

Seven Reasons to Utilize Revolutionary Automatic Shoe Cover Dispensers and Removers

There are multiple methods for businesses and organizations to keep their facilities clean and minimize or prevent contamination from the wide variety of contaminants that exist on shoes.  The four most prevalent options are shoe covers/booties (disposable or reusable), dedicated/facility shoes, sticky/tacky mats, and chemical baths.  The relative pros and cons of these will be discussed in a future blog post.  This blog post focuses on shoe covers and a revolutionary technology for putting them on and taking them off.

Shoe covers are essential in many applications for keeping environments clean and free from contamination.  In some cases, you want to prevent whatever is on the floor from getting on your shoes.  Other times you want or need to prevent contaminants on your shoes from getting on the floors in your environment for maintenance and sanitation, health and safety, infection control and other reasons.  In the past people had to apply and remove their shoe covers manually, but this is time-consuming, can be dangerous, and is definitely not clean.  Alternatively, many entities are now utilizing automatic shoe cover dispensers and removers to address these issues.  Here are seven reasons why:

  • Speed: it’s faster

No bones about it, putting shoe covers on the old-fashioned way is time-consuming – the entire process, which includes grabbing a pair of shoe covers and finding a place to put them on, easily takes somewhere between 30 and 45 seconds each and every time.  Removing them can take even longer, especially in an environment that requires more extensive hygiene practices.  With Shoe Inn’s revolutionary automatic shoe cover dispensers and removers, the time is reduced to about five (5) seconds!

  • Efficiency = productivity = $$$

Applying shoe covers faster and more efficiently means employees can get to work faster. The Shoe Inn system makes the process of applying and removing shoe covers AT LEAST four times (4x) faster.  This significantly shorter gowning time equals increased efficiency that translates to increased productivity, meaning you are not wasting money paying your employees to put on shoe covers but instead are paying them in their work environment where they are being productive. Cumulatively, these small time saving increments add up to big savings for your business!

  • Easy breezy

Putting shoe covers on is easy for some people, a walk in the park.  However, for others it can be a real challenge for a variety of legitimate reasons. Many, many times we’ve been told by people at tradeshows (with colorful, choice words) how much they despise, detest, even flat out refuse to put shoe covers on.  Employ automatic shoe cover dispensers, which make it so much easier to put booties on, and those challenges and objections will vanish, thereby increasing compliance.  Same goes for the remover, just at the back end of the process.

  • Safety rules

Automatic shoe cover dispensers and removers keep employees and visitors safer by iStock_000020353612Largereducing the risk of injuring themselves while putting shoe covers on and taking them off.  Instead of bouncing around while attempting to balance on one foot and lifting the other leg, which we have dubbed the “bootie hop” (see The Bootie Hop video), people can safely apply and remove their shoe covers in an ergonomically friendly manner.  The handlebars found on the Shoe Inn Stay dispenser and both ASCR removers make it even safer and easier.  Say goodbye to those workers’ comp claims!

  • It’s cleaner

Open hand raised, Stop Bacteria sign painted, multi purpose concPutting shoe covers on and taking them off by hand is dirty business.  Your shoes, particularly the bottoms, are gross – just think about everything you’ve stepped in and on while walking around streets, parking lots, subways, parks, trails, public bathrooms, etc.  It is almost inevitable that you’re going to touch your shoes while putting shoe covers on manually and thus contaminate your hands.  Depending on the environment, used shoe covers can be soiled as well so automatic shoe cover removers do the dirty work for you.

  • Save precious space

Oftentimes wherever shoe covers need to be put on and/or taken off, space is at a Cleanroom employee putting on shoe covers and using a sticky matpremium.  Gowning benches and chairs take up space and can be obstructions.  Shoe cover dispensers and removers take up much less space, especially proportionately when factoring in how much more efficient they are in facilitating people getting through the process.  Fewer benches and chairs mean more space for other necessities.

  • Dressed to impress

Starward-virtual-proof-2Manually putting shoe covers on and taking them off is so old school.  While there will always be a place for doing certain things the old-fashioned way, why not look professional and impress your customers, visitors, regulators, inspectors and auditors?  In fact, you can customize your Shoe Inn dispensers and removers with your corporate logo, motto/slogan, contact information, etc. to further cement your brand.

As you can see, there are many benefits to implementing an automatic shoe cover dispensing and removal system.  Want to know more?  Check out our line of shoe cover dispensers, shoe covers and removers or contact us.  At Shoe Inn, we make putting shoe covers on and taking them off faster, easier, safer and cleaner!

USP 800 versus 797: New Guide for Handling Hazardous Drugs Includes Shoe Covers

USP <800>, the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention’s new standard for handling hazardous drugs (HDs) in healthcare settings, includes significant safety standards for all healthcare workers, as well as patients and the general public, who have access to facilities where HDs are prepared. This includes pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, home health care workers, veterinarians, and veterinary technicians.  Entities that store, transport, prepare, or administer HDs are also affected, including but not limited to pharmacies, hospitals, patient treatment clinics, physicians’ practice facilities, and veterinary clinics.

USP <800> provides facilities with direction on how to set policy and identify what needs to be done for employee safety while compounding and dispensing HDs. These new safety standards expand upon USP <797>, which focused primarily on minimizing the risk of contaminating medicines when compounding sterile IV preparations. USP <800>, on the other hand, is aimed primarily at addressing the entire life cycle of an HD so that all who might come in contact with it are protected.

USP <797> and <800> are related in that each refer to a chapter in the US Pharmacopoeia.  USP <800> is not just limited to chemotherapy but also many drugs that now fall under the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) list.  USP <800> has a minor component that currently falls under USP <797> this year but will become fully enforceable in December 2019 and will require full cleanroom and garbing precautions.  USP <797> is under revision; therefore the current version will hold until at least the next year.  This is the year the Joint Commission and Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is requiring compliance with USP <797>.  Since this is the first year that the CMS plans to enforce the IV compounding regulations, most facilities are scrambling to meet compliance.

Health Effects Resulting from Exposure to Hazardous Drugs

Green barrels with toxic substancesGrowing evidence, which has been accumulated over decades by the USP, Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association, Oncology Nursing Society, American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that occupational exposure to the more than 200 HDs commonly used in healthcare settings can cause acute and chronic health issues. In addition, over 100 studies have documented evidence of HD contamination in the workplace, including the presence of HDs in workers’ urine. With nearly 8,000,000 healthcare workers exposed to HDs each year, USP <800> aims to prevent associated acute and long-term health effects.

Required Upgrades Under USP <800> Include Shoe Covers

Personal protective equipment (PPE)(gowns; head, hair, and shoe covers; and two pairs of chemotherapy gloves) is required for compounding both sterile and non-sterile HDs, and two pairs of such gloves are required for administering antineoplastic HDs. Facilities also need to develop standard operating procedures regarding appropriate PPE for any workers who otherwise handle HDs.

Both USP <797> and <800> include several references to shoe covers as detailed below.

Compliant Shoe Covers + Automatic Shoe Cover Application and Removal

Shoe Inn’s shoe covers meet USP <797> and <800> guidelines.  If you want to take make Happy-doctors-smallputting shoe covers on faster, easier, safer and cleaner, go with an automatic shoe cover dispenser like the Shoe Inn Stay. You can even take it a step further by implementing an automatic shoe cover remover.  These products help eliminate workplace injuries, prevent contamination, and save precious time (see just how quick and easy in our application and removal videos).

USP <800> became effective on July 1, 2018.

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USP <797> references to shoe covers

Appropriate personnel protective equipment (PPE) shall be worn when compounding in a BSC or CACI and when using CSTD devices. PPE should include gowns, face masks, eye protection, hair covers, shoe covers or dedicated shoes, double gloving with sterile chemo-type gloves, and compliance with manufacturers’ recommendations when using a CACI.

After donning dedicated shoes or shoe covers, head and facial hair covers, and face masks…

When compounding personnel exit the compounding area during a work shift, the exterior gown may be removed and retained in the compounding area if not visibly soiled, to be re-donned during that same work shift only. However, shoe covers, hair and facial hair covers, face masks/eye shields, and gloves shall be replaced with new ones before re-entering the compounding area, and proper hand hygiene shall be performed.

Appendix I: Order of compounding garb and cleansing in ante-area: shoes or shoe covers, head and facial hair covers, face mask, fingernail cleansing, hand and forearm washing and drying; non-shedding gown.

Appendix III: Dons shoe covers or designated clean-area shoes one at a time, placing the covered or designated shoe on clean side of the line of demarcation, as appropriate.

Appendix III: Removes shoe covers or shoes one at a time, ensuring that uncovered foot is placed on the dirty side of the line of demarcation and performs hand hygiene again. (Removes and discards shoe covers every time the compounding area is exited).

USP <800> references to shoe covers

Gowns, head, hair, shoe covers, and two pairs of chemotherapy gloves are required for compounding sterile and non-sterile HDs.

Head and hair covers (including beard and moustache, if applicable), shoe covers, and sleeve covers provide protection from contact with HD residue. When compounding HDs, a second pair of shoe covers must be donned before entering the C-SEC and doffed when exiting the C-SEC. Shoe covers worn in HD handling areas must not be worn to other areas to avoid spreading HD contamination and exposing other healthcare workers.

Hospital Employee Safety: Slips and Falls

Hospitals are one of the most hazardous places to work according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  In fact, hospital injuries occurred at almost twice the rate for private industry as a whole in 2011.  In terms of lost-time rates, it is more hazardous to work in a hospital than in manufacturing or construction.

unlucky carefree business man silhouetteHospitals have unique risks (lifting/repositioning patients, needlesticks), slippery surfaces, and a variety of other hazards.  Also, some caregivers feel it is their ethical duty to put their patients’ safety and health before their own.

For 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that fully one quarter (25%) of all hospital caregiver injuries was from slips, trips and falls!  Considering the slippery floors in hospitals and the body positioning and movements that caregivers employ in performing their jobs, this statistic is somewhat understandable.  Injuries from slipping can impact employees’ ability to do their jobs, and result in decreased productivity, lost workdays, and expensive worker compensation claims.

As a result, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a guide iStock_000020353612Largefor Slip, Trip, and Fall Prevention for Healthcare Workers.  Though the guide does not address shoe covers, hospital EH&S/safety/risk managers can go the extra mile by implementing the Shoe Inn automatic shoe cover dispensing system with non-slip/high-traction shoe covers.  Shoe Inn can help keep your employees safe by reducing slips and falls associated with putting shoe covers on as well as using superior traction shoe covers.