Plastic clog maker Crocs has unveiled a year-long safety awareness initiative following recent publicity linking its distinctive footwear to accidents on escalators.

Reports in the US and Japan have suggested that Crocs clogs have contributed to a number of incidents where wearers have become stuck on escalators, although the company has blamed escalator design and maintenance for the problems.

Now Crocs is planning to add consumer education messages regarding escalator safety to hang tags on shoes sold around the world, as well as supporting organisations promoting safe escalator maintenance and use.

The new hang tags will appear on shoes sold through Crocs retailers and company-owned outlets, as well as its online store, in the next few months.

The company expects to have fully rolled out the new hang tags by the introduction of its spring 2009 line.

The tags remind consumers to be careful when riding escalators and moving walkways, as well as giving a number of specific tips on avoiding accidents.

"Consumer safety is very important to us," said Crocs president and CEO Ron Snyder.

"Escalator entrapments have occurred for more than 40 years, far longer than Crocs has been in business, and these accidents often are preventable.

"Because the Crocs brand is so visible and so popular around the world, we have an opportunity to reach millions of consumers of all ages, including parents, with educational messages that will help draw attention to this important issue."

The company claimed that there had been no corresponding increase in the number of escalator incidents, despite tens of millions of pairs of Crocs being sold in the US over the past five years.

And it said that many accidents could be prevented by implementing safety requirements in escalator design and maintenance, including the installation of step safety sideplates.

"Therefore, one of the future goals of this initiative is to push for changes in elevator/escalator safety code regulations regarding the design, installation and maintenance of escalators," said the company.