Safety cones, signs to help mitigate slips and falls

We’ve all seen it happen: a freshly ordered coffee falls from someone’s hand, tumbles to the ground and explodes open — splattering hot liquid everywhere and creating a slip-and-slide puddle in one of the busiest areas of campus.

What happens next is a common occurrence: onlookers stare at the scene, partly feeling sorry for the person whose coffee spilt and mostly unsure of what to do next. Some people might inform an employee about the spill. Others may grab a bunch of napkins to sop up the mess themselves. Those in a hurry may do nothing, assuming someone else will eventually clean it up. 

To help clarify how faculty, staff and students can help with indoor spills and other common slip and fall hazards, Brock University’s Office of Health, Safety and Wellness recently collaborated with Facilities Management and University Marketing and Communications to develop signage and obtain quick-access pop-up safety cones. The new signs and cones will be installed across campus by Facilities Management in the coming weeks — most at high-traffic food and drink areas. 

The signs read, “See a spill? Mark it with a pop-up safety cone. Call 905-688-5550 x3717 for clean-up.” 

Brian Dzurban, Occupational Health and Safety Specialist, hopes the initiative will lead to quicker clean-up response times and, ultimately, a reduction in the number of slips, trips and falls, which are the most-reported health and safety incidents on campus. 

“Placing a pop-up safety cone near an unsafe slip and fall hazard, such as a coffee spill, is a quick and easy way to help others avoid injury,” said Dzurban. “Most of us carry cell phones, so\ having a contact number posted nearby also makes it easy for people to appropriately report the spill to Facilities Management.” 

The first of nine cone and sign pairs was installed last week in Thistle Complex East next to the water bottle filling station across the hall from the full-service Tim Hortons. Other locations include: 

  • Cairns Complex 200 level next to the water bottle filling station and CRN 219 
  • Hungry Badger under the stairwell sign 
  • International Building near the food service area 
  • Lowenberger Dining Hall on the red wall behind the condiments/napkin island 
  • Market Hall near the water bottle filling station and ST 123 
  • Plaza Building 300 level near the water bottle filling station close to The Daily Grind Café (Starbucks) 
  • South Block hallway near the General Brock Store 
  • Thistle Complex near Tim Hortons and Scotiabank Hall 
  • Thistle Complex East next to the water bottle filling station across from the full-service Tim Hortons (installed) 

Although quite common, coffee spills are not the only slip and fall hazard on campus.

Outdoor designated walkways in parking lots and sidewalks can get slippery with rain, snow, slush, ice and mud. Inside, surfaces can get slippery from wet umbrellas, clothing and footwear. Floor mats with flipped corners or folds are also common tripping hazards. 

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 905-688-5550 x3717. Outside of these hours, or if the University is closed, unsafe conditions can be reported to Campus Security Services at 905-688-5550 x3200.

Incidents such as slips, trips or falls, can be reported by emailing or through the Brock Safety mobile app. Employees must involve their supervisor when reporting incidents or injuries at Brock. 

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