Brock reducing slips one step at a time

Winter weather is notorious for contributing to slips, trips and falls.  

The rain, ice, snow, slush and mud make for difficult walking surfaces, and debris is often tracked inside onto smooth floors.

One way Brock University is helping to prevent injury is by increasing the number of floor mats it uses during the winter months. Seven mats have been added to high-traffic entrances, such as Mackenzie Chown Block J, the south and west sides of the Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex and the vestibule in Plaza Building near the Campus Store, bringing the total number of mats across campus to 163.

Augmenting the new floor mats is more frequent maintenance through vacuuming and deep cleaning.  

The most significant improvement, however, is increasing the size of many mats.  

“Believe it or not, there’s a science behind entrance mats,” said Jay Ismailovic, Manager, Custodial Services. “According to standards set by the Carpet and Rug Institute, each foot must make contact with a mat three times for it to successfully remove 85 to 95 per cent of debris from footwear. This means our mats need to be a minimum of 12 to 15 feet long, but we’re aiming to do better.”

Occupational Health and Safety Specialist Daniel Pozzobon said that slips, trips and falls are the top reported incident on campus and that improving Brock’s already successful floor mat program is one step to prevent injuries.

“Mats are quite effective at absorbing water and collecting debris; however, faculty, staff and students can do their part in preventing slips by brushing off debris from pant legs and footwear and shaking off water from umbrellas and jackets before entering a building.” 

Pozzobon also suggests being mindful of slippery surfaces by walking at a safe pace, avoiding areas that may be icy, muddy or wet, and wearing footwear appropriate for the outdoor conditions, such as boots and shoes with deep tread. 

“Slippers, flip flops, high heels and smooth-soled footwear can be dangerous to wear when walking in snow, ice and wet conditions,” said Pozzobon. “Many of us change our car tires in the winter so we have more grip, so why not change our shoes?” 

To report unsafe conditions Monday to Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., call Facilities Management Customer Service One Call Hotline at x3717. Outside of these hours, or if the University is closed, unsafe conditions can be reported to Campus Security at x3200. Incidents, such as slips, trips or falls, can be reported to or through the Brock Safety mobile app.  

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