Safety Tips from I-Safety
Spotlight Tip of the Week
The University of Idaho is blessed with a pastoral campus landscape and thousands of mature trees which provide an aesthetically appealing place to work, learn and enjoy. Ongoing maintenance and care is required to keep them safe and healthy so that they can provide our students, faculty and staff with decades of enjoyment, shade and clean air.
The Landscape Arboriculture team works year-round providing this service to keep the U of I campus safe and beautiful. Doing so requires pedestrian and vehicle safeguards be implemented whenever tree work is happening. The Fall Zone area is cordoned off with ribbon, cones or fencing to provide protection for you. Signage may be installed directing pedestrians and/or vehicles to use a different route. One or two ground persons in safety vests, hearing protection and helmets are there to deal with felled branches and logs and monitor the Fall Zone to make sure it remains clear of objects and people that could be damaged or injured.
As a pedestrian or vehicle driver it is imperative that you also make safety your priority by following all signage or verbal instructions when tree work is happening along your chosen route. When you see orange safety signs, vests and helmets in an area, pay attention to your surroundings. Avoid distractions like cell phones or conversations and follow the safety guidelines put in place to protect you.
Never cross into the Fall Zone unless specifically allowed to by an authorized ground person. This is a time when your convenience is not a priority — your safety is. Paying attention to this work and following directions will allow you to safely reach your destination.
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.