CASE STUDY: KEEPING CREWS ON THEIR FEET WITH PROPER FOOTWEAR
Working in a freezer ain’t for the faint of heart. Long shifts in mind-numbingly low temperatures takes guts, grit and good pair of non-slip composite toe freezer boots. You gotta bring your own guts and grit, but RefrigiWear can help you out with the best insulated safety boots for comfort and warmth in the freezer.
Keep reading to learn how a company-sponsored footwear program improved safety, productivity and morale for one of our customers in the cold chain.
With over 150 distribution centers servicing all 50 states and Puerto Rico, this RefrigiWear customer is a large national distributor of dry and perishable groceries. This facility is located on the southern east coast and has about 75 employees in the freezer.
This facility supplies its freezer workers with RefrigiWear insulated workwear, including freezer jackets and work bibs. However, the facility did not have a footwear program. That left employees on their own to research and buy their own footwear.
Employees were not only responsible for purchasing their own footwear, but the facility management also wasn’t aware of the differences in work boots and they didn’t have much guidance to share with employees to help them find boots that were suitable for the job.
For example, the outsoles of box-store work boots aren’t designed for freezers, so they crack, peel and break down faster. Damaged soles don’t offer proper protection against slips and don’t effectively block the cold from frozen concrete floors from reaching inside the boot.
When improper boots lose their slip resistance, let the cold in and fall apart quickly, employees become unhappy with their discomfort on the job and the expense of having to replace their boots too frequently.
Under these circumstances, unhappy employees were leaving. So, RefrigiWear visited the facility and talked to employees and managers. A few things became apparent:
- Safety needed to be improved to reduce accidents and injuries due to slips, trips and falls
- Employees needed footwear specifically designed for the freezer environment
- Employees needed guidance on the best footwear for the conditions
- Employee morale and productivity needed a boost
- Employees needed gear that could handle the job without slowing them down or falling apart
After talking with people working in the facility, RefrigiWear recommended a company-sponsored footwear program. The facility’s general manager said, “I noticed the freezer employees’ morale was low and we were seeing turnover higher than what I expected. I wanted a solution that would make the team enjoy working, up productivity and morale, and reduce those turnover numbers. Adding a footwear program was the perfect solution.”
Under the new program, employees would receive insulated jackets and bibs, as well as a pair of Extreme Hiker Boots from RefrigiWear. These insulated freezer boots are comfort-rated for warmth down to -40°F, have a composite safety toe that won’t conduct cold like steel toes would, a hybrid traction outsole to guard against slipping and RefrigiWear’s exclusive VitaComfort® System to manage moisture and reduce foot fatigue. Extreme Hiker Boots also have the Boa® Fit System, instead of traditional laces, to ensure a snug fit all shift long that can be adjusted without removing gloves and exposing hands to the cold.
Employees are also provided a pair of Extreme Socks and PolarForce® Socks. These socks are warm, comfortable and made for working in freezers. Pairing them with boots designed for freezer work adds warmth and comfort, making it easier for employees to work long shifts without experiencing foot fatigue and discomfort.
And, to address the need for replacement boots, the program provides a pair of boots and socks at hiring and replacement footwear every year on their employment anniversary.
The new freezer work boots and socks pair nicely with the insulated workwear employees already had and gave them complete head-to-toe protection on the job.
Employees were not only safer and warmer in their new insulated freezer boots, they also really liked the way the boots looked, and that went a long way to improving morale.
With accident rates down and the cold no longer a problem for employees’ feet, productivity improved dramatically and turnover decreased. With boots designed for the temperatures, conditions and work, employees get their jobs done faster and more efficiently.
Explore Freezerwear & Footwear
If employees in your freezer or cooler are dissatisfied and you’re facing high turnover, take a look at their feet and consider whether a footwear program could be a good fit for your business. Shop our selection of insulated freezer footwear or contact RefrigiWear Customer Service for assistance.