Committee meets to discuss safety on campus

Matt Walker

The University Safety Committee discussed the one employee injury that occurred in February and the methods to improve safety on campus during a monthly meeting on Wednesday March 1, 2017, according to the director of Environmental Health and Safety, Alice Lenthe.

The committee includes members from Athletics, Dining Services, Environmental Health & Safety, Facilities Management, Human Resources, Risk Management & Insurance, the University’s workers compensation insurer, the University’s casualty and property insurance broker, Public Safety, Residence Life, the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering, Villanova School of Business and the College of Nursing. Robert Morro is the chair of the committee, but was unable to attend the meeting.

The injured employee suffered a muscle strain while using a wrench, according to Lenthe. She said no changes in policy or procedure are planned following this injury.

“This particular injury is pretty common,” Lenthe said.

There were no other employee injuries during the month of February according to Lenthe.

“February was an excellent month,” Lenthe said in an interview the day after the meeting. “Yesterday was pretty light. There wasn’t a whole lot going on.” With her knuckle, she tapped the wooden table after saying this.

The committee, which meets monthly, reviews any employee injuries that occurred in the prior month and discusses ways to improve safety on campus. The committee follows the guidelines set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a government agency, and some action by its own initiative according to Morro.

“What if someone fell, like a custodian, on a wet floor?” Morro said. “We’ll talk about that and how to prevent that.”

“Build a culture of safety,” Lenthe said, defining her goals. “But that takes time.”

According to Lenthe, trying to lift something too heavy is one of the most common injuries for faculty members, so years ago the committee distributed a one-page flyer to inform employees how to properly lift heavy objects. The success of the flyer prompted her to wonder aloud whether the committee should try this tactic again.

To combat slip and fall injuries during snow events, there is a bucket of salt outside of every building so, according to Morro, anyone can throw a bucket of salt down.

Fire alarms are a common occurrence for the committee, but procedure keeps everyone safe according to Morro.

“There are dozens and dozens,” Morro said. “Every time someone burns their popcorn or straightens their hair.”

“Most of the time it’s a false alarm,” Lenthe said.

“We’re very serious about fire safety,” Morro said. “So if you’re a student and you pull the alarm just as a joke, we throw the book at you, that’s a very serious crime.”

Automatic external defibrillators, or AEDs, are located in buildings that host large events according to Lenthe. She added that Public Safety has them in certain vehicles and the Villanova Emergency Medical Service has them too. Currently, the committee is considering adding an AED to Bartley Hall.

“They have that auditorium there,” Lenthe said.

The committee will continue to assess what actions the University should take to ensure safety.

“Honestly, I think we are very safe here,” Lenthe said. “We’ve had fewer injuries every year.”

Let’s hope that trend continues.