Spotlight Tip of the Week
Snow and ice will be here soon and while it might be nice to stay indoors where it is warm and dry and watch the snow fall, at some point we all need to get out during the winter months. Whether going to work, class or the grocery store or heading out to sing carols, there are several things you can do to make your winter walking safer.
- Walk like a penguin - keep your stride wide and short. Align your core to keep your center of gravity low and centered over your hips and feet.
- Wear appropriate footwear for the weather and conditions. Winter boots with traction are a good place to start and also help keep your feet warm and dry.
- Add additional traction by using devices that slip over your footwear, such as YakTrax or Korkees. EHS and Risk Management have free devices for faculty and staff.
- Stay on cleared and maintained walkways. Around campus, walk on sidewalks that are heated by the steam tunnels. These paths stay clear through most weather conditions.
- Wipe your feet when entering buildings and remove traction devices. Those first few steps into the building may be slippery from tracked snow and water.
- Use handrails when going up and down stairs.
- Don't multi-task while walking - put the phone away and look where you are going.
- Help your fellow Vandals by scattering sand from the supplied buckets whenever needed, especially if you are the first to arrive in the morning or if weather changes during the day.
Please report any accidents and injuries through the Accident Report Form. If you notice a safety concern, please submit a mobile-friendly Safety Concern Form. For icy conditions that cannot be addressed with some sand from a sand bucket, contact Facilities at 208-885-6246.
Culture of Questioning
Questioning certain practices with safety in mind is an essential attitude to keep you and the rest of the Vandal family safe. Questioning challenges the complacency that grows in familiar situations and drives change. Questioning safety practices, or perhaps a lack thereof, is vital to developing a culture of safety at the University of Idaho. The goal is for everyone to return home at the end of every day just as healthy as when they arrived on campus.
Safety issues are often recognized but go unreported because a person doesn't know whom to contact or assumes that someone else is already taking care of it. At U of I, we want everyone to challenge these assumptions, question the situation and report the issues. The Report a Safety Concern form was created just for this purpose. It allows for anonymous reporting if you choose, as well as the option to upload an image of the safety problem when appropriate. It is available for anyone to use, and concerns will be directed to the proper campus unit to correct the problem.
Students and employees are the eyes and ears of the community, and your help is essential. Get involved in the safety training opportunities available to you, ask questions if you have a concern about a procedure, take part in safety inspections and report issues right away - issues cannot be corrected if no one knows about them. Timely questioning and reporting can prevent accidents and near misses. If an accident or near miss does occur, report this as well; investigating the reason will help avoid another injury.
As a supervisor, you have additional influence - lead by example and ensure safety is a core value in your team's activities. You are encouraged to do workplace inspections, ensure your employees are current on their safety training, talk regularly with your employees and discuss accident investigation reports with them and the U of I EHS staff. EHS has many resources available for you and the EHS staff can assist all supervisors in their safety efforts.
Our Vandal culture is how we think and act in all our activities. Avoiding complacency and continuously challenging existing conditions that might pose a safety risk allows us as a community to identify discrepancies and take appropriate actions before an accident or near miss occurs. Put safety first and we can achieve the safest possible working and learning environment for our Vandal family.