The Shoe Inn Motto: We Make Putting Shoe Covers On And Taking Them Off Faster, Easier, Safer and Cleaner

Shoe covers are ubiquitous. Quite simply, they’re everywhere. In industries ranging from food manufacturing and processing to pharmaceuticals, biotechnology to energy, aerospace to medical devices, and everything in between, disposable shoe covers are used every day to increase workplace safety and reduce contamination. Closer to home, you might literally use them in your home on a daily basis and/or when selling it. Unfortunately, using ordinary shoe covers can be a real chore or even painful, literally and figuratively. At Shoe Inn, our goal is to make the process of putting shoe covers on and taking them off faster, easier, safer and cleaner. How do we do it?

Faster

With our automatic shoe cover dispensers and removers, people can apply or remove shoe covers in about five (5) seconds, which is at least four times (4x) faster than doing the same thing by hand. This means that in the time it takes a person to put on a pair of shoe covers manually, at least four others can put their booties on with a Shoe Inn dispenser (see our Why Shoe Inn? video on the videos page). Implementation of the Shoe Inn system will therefore result in increased efficiency and productivity.

Easier

For some, putting shoe covers on and taking them off by hand is a loathsome or burdensome process. Their objections range from physically oriented (bad backs, bad knees, or being pregnant to name a few) to mere annoyance or inconvenience. But use automatic shoe cover dispensers and removers, which make it so much easier, and those challenges and objections will vanish, thereby increasing happiness and compliance.

Safer

iStock_000020353612LargeWe are not flamingos, and we’re not getting any younger. Instead of bouncing around while attempting to balance on one foot and lifting the other leg, which we refer to as the “bootie hop” (see The Bootie Hop video on our videos page) or a worker’s comp claim waiting to happen, people can safely apply and remove their shoe covers in an ergonomically friendly manner with the Shoe Inn system.  Both the Shoe Inn Stay and the removers include a safety handlebar for extra balance and security.

Cleaner

Open hand raised, Stop Bacteria sign painted, multi purpose conc

Have you ever stopped to consider what is on the bottom of your shoes?  Besides the obvious things you can see, there are the countless little nasties you cannot see.  All of these things walk with us everywhere we go and are brought into areas where they are unwelcome unless shoe covers or other methodology are used. However, it is nearly inevitable that you’re going to touch your shoes while putting shoe covers on manually and thus contaminate your hands. With the Shoe Inn system, problem solved.

Workplace Contamination

Contamination in the workplace can halt production, necessitate expensive product recalls, or require lab experiments to be started over. It is a very real concern, perhaps even a fear, that laboratories, food processing companies, and manufacturers are particularly aware of and have measures in place to minimize or prevent. In this post, we discuss what contamination is, how it can be spread, and what can be done to try to prevent it.

Contamination: what is it?

The definition of contamination is the act of contaminating, or of making something impure or unsuitable by contact with something unclean, poisonous, etc. One of the most publicly visible examples of the effects of contamination is widespread food borne illness leading to hospitalizations and deaths. Negative food safety headlines are the worst nightmare of food processing companies and restaurants. This issue is discussed further in our shoe covers in the food industry blog post.

How is it spread?

istock_000015278265xlargeContamination can be spread through a variety of ways, including through the air (think tiny infectious droplets spread by coughs and sneezes), water, food, touching unclean surfaces, etc. Workers who don’t correctly follow procedures can cause cross-contamination, thereby halting production, having to decontaminate or discard products, needing to clean equipment, and other effects that result in lost time and money.

What can your company do to be safe from contamination?

Open hand raised, Stop Bacteria sign painted, multi purpose concCompanies minimize workplace contamination by developing, implementing, and enforcing proper processes and procedures (including disinfection and cleaning procedures), having necessary infrastructure and equipment, and the like. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is also an important consideration. By wearing shoe covers, hair nets, face masks, beard covers, and gloves, potential contaminants should be kept away from critical areas. The PPE will also help keep the work environment clean and sanitary.

Contamination is a very important matter, but you can lessen the likelihood of it occurring if you know what it is, how it spreads, and what can be done to minimize or prevent it entirely with cross-contamination prevention. Compliance with company processes and procedures is critical, as is having proper infrastructure and equipment, which may include shoe covers, disposable gloves, and sticky mats.

Shoe Covers in Specific Industries: Manufacturing

One of many industries where using shoe covers can be advantageous is the manufacturing industry. Many manufacturing businesses require personnel and visitors to put shoe covers on before entering the manufacturing area or when entering the office space from a dirty manufacturing area. We wrote about this under the header “Dirty business” in another blog post.

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Shoe covers for workmen can also help with safety and accident prevention. It is important to provide safety for employees and visitors as they go from one surface or area to the next. In manufacturing environments, people may slip, especially on wet or smooth surfaces. While there is only so much any shoe cover can do on wet or oily/greasy surfaces, the anti-slip properties of some of our shoe covers can help reduce slips and related accidents.

So, which shoe covers are best for the manufacturing industry? While all of our shoe covers are used in virtually every industry that uses booties, some are more prevalent than others. Shoe Inn primarily provides protection for manufacturing companies with two different shoe covers. The Hybrid shoe cover has a heavy duty, waterproof outer layer that now covers most of the shoe cover; it is our most durable option. Alternatively, andiStock_000020353612Large especially if traction/slip resistance is a primary consideration, our Super shoe covers have an anti-slip outer layer and are 100% waterproof.

Bottom line, shoe covers for workmen are an important piece of an overall workplace safety program in the manufacturing industry.

GMP and Shoe Inn Products

Good manufacturing practices (GMP) are the practices required in order to conform to the guidelines recommended by agencies that control the authorization and licensing of the manufacture and sale of food and beverages, medical devices, pharmaceutical products, and cosmetics. These guidelines provide minimum requirements that a manufacturer must meet to assure that their products are consistently high in quality, from batch to batch, for their intended use. The main purpose of GMP guidelines is always to prevent harm from occurring to the end user.[1]

GMP covers the entire operation – everything from the materials used to employee personal hygiene. All guidelines follow a few basic principles, one of which is particularly relevant to Shoe Inn products:

  • Manufacturing facilities must maintain a clean and hygienic manufacturing area.

glovesProcedures, like wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), help maintain the clean and hygienic manufacturing area and reduce the risk of contamination. Garments such as smocks, hair nets, beard covers, disposable gloves, and shoe covers are donned beforeAll-shoe-covers-on-shoes-500entering critical environments and manufacturing areas. Oftentimes sticky mats, also known as tacky mats or cleanroom mats, are used in parts of facilities to pull contaminants off the bottom of street shoes prior to entering the gowning area or other sensitive areas. A newer technology that is being employed is the use of a UVC light sanitizing system to kill germs and pathogens on the soles of footwear.

Shoes on sticky mats

When it comes to adhering to GMP protocols, Shoe Inn has a range of products that will definitely help with maintaining clean and hygienic manufacturing areas.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_manufacturing_practice

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?

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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 preventing food contamination and 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.