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Help us all take care out there this winter

Wednesday 6 June 2018 10:13am

Autumn is over, winter is here … (clockwise from left) The Property Services Division’s Dean Fraser and Kain Lemmens blow leaves into piles beside the Clocktower for removal, foot prints and wheel tracks in the snow remind us all to wear sensible shoes.

Who ya gonna call? Someone please!

Winter is here so if you spot some hazardous ice, slippery surfaces, piles of leaves flooding drains or badly lit areas, please take action to keep us all safe.

“Speak up early, because something can be done. You don’t just have to put up with it,” University of Otago Health and Safety Compliance Head Andrea McMillan says.

And that is not just her view. Nationally, WorkSafe says: “If it’s not safe – speak up! Your voice can make a difference. You play an important part in your workplace health and safety.”

To report hazards you can contact:

  • Your Divisional Health and Safety Officer (DHSO), or
  • Health, Safety and Compliance online.

We can also help ourselves.

Health and Safety Adviser Nevan Trotter says to wear flat shoes with good tread, especially because many people are heading down hills to get to the campus.

Anyone wanting to go a step further could get yaktrax to put over their shoes, or wear woollen socks over their shoes.

Thousands of people use the campus, including people from countries with no winters, which makes safety messages particularly important.

People should also avoid sheltered areas on cold and frosty days and respect all signs and barriers around the multiple construction sites on campus.

Now it is getting dark earlier, Ms McMillan says it is also a good time to remind people to avoid areas that are not well-lit at night and that Campus Watch can walk people to their cars.

Property Services Division Acting Grounds Foreman Andy Laing says the University is not alone in finding it is impossible to eliminate every potential hazard in bad weather, so it is important people report hazards when they see them.

Otago Grounds staff already:

  • Gather two truckloads of leaves – about 12 to 18 cubic metres – from our Dunedin campus every week in autumn
  • Spray about 22,000 cubic metres of surfaces every year to get rid of moss, mould and mildew
  • Spray about 3,000 litres of de-icing formula during winter.

Health and Safety Compliance and the Property Services Division are part of the Operations Group, which has three top priorities:

Enable – the University to achieve its visions and mission
Engage – with our students, each other, our customers and externally
Experience – of our students, our customers, and externally to be outstanding