Safety Tips from I-Safety
Spotlight Tip of the Week
As anyone that has tried to cross campus when classes are changing knows, there are a lot of people walking on and around campus, interacting with vehicles, skateboarders, cyclists and others. As a pedestrian, there are a number of steps you can take to keep yourself safe.
Make sure you are visible to drivers at all times and make eye contact with them whenever possible. This is especially important at night, in low-light conditions such as dusk or dawn or in inclement weather. According to NHTSA's National Center for Statistics and Analysis, 32 percent of all pedestrian fatalities occur between 8 p.m. and 11:59 p.m.
- Wear light colored or reflective clothing at night and brightly colored clothing during the day.
- Stay in well-lit areas, especially when crossing the street.
- If possible, make eye contact with drivers in stopped vehicles to ensure they see you before you cross in front of them.
- Use marked crosswalks and stay in the markings when crossing. Darting out into traffic or crossing diagonally across a crosswalk or street is dangerous, as vehicle operators are not expecting this.
Consider the Weather
- In fall and spring, be on the lookout for wet conditions and leaf debris that can cause slippery walking conditions.
- When roads are covered with snow or ice, never assume a driver will be able to stop in time to grant you the right of way.
- Wear traction devices for snowy walkways; while snow and ice mitigation on campus walks is a priority, freezing weather can occur quickly and sporadically in colder spots, like on the north side of buildings. Pay attention when walking on sloped walkways, stairs or shaded walkways.
Stay Alert - Avoid Distractions
Distractions are everywhere today and becoming more and more difficult to avoid. Remember that, as a pedestrian, your eyes and ears are your best tools for keeping safe. Put your cell phone or tablet away and pay attention to your surroundings. Ear buds and headphones greatly decrease your ability to hear warning signals or approaching vehicles or equipment. Leave them off.
Follow the Rules
- Think like a driver; know and follow all traffic rules, signs and signals. You need to be aware of the rules vehicles around you must follow to properly anticipate what drivers will do. This will help increase your safety.
- Never assume a driver will give you the right of way. Make every effort to make eye contact with the driver of a stopped or approaching vehicle before entering the roadway.
Walk in Safe Places
- Use crosswalks when crossing the street. If a crosswalk is unavailable, be sure to find the most well-lit spot on the road to cross and wait for a long enough gap in traffic to make it safely across the street.
- If there are two or more lanes of traffic flowing the same direction through a crosswalk, make sure that all vehicles are stopping for you. You may be hidden by a courteous driver's vehicle in the closer lane, and the second lane of traffic may not stop if you are not visible to them.
- Stay on sidewalks whenever possible. If a sidewalk is not available, be sure to walk on the far side of the road facing traffic. This will help increase your visibility to drivers.
- Avoid walking along highways or other roadways where pedestrians are prohibited.
Avoid Alcohol Consumption
Almost half of all traffic crashes resulting in pedestrian casualties involve alcohol consumption. Surprisingly, 34 percent of that total was on the part of the pedestrian. Alcohol impairs your decision-making skills, physical reflexes and other abilities just as much on your feet as it does behind the wheel.
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.