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 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 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 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 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!