UNION-MANAGEMENT SAFETY COMMITTEE
May 2023 Meeting Minutes
The monthly meeting of the Union-Management Safety Committee was conducted on May 9th, 2023 by the Environmental Health and Safety department with the following individuals in attendance:
Kathy Cain-Babbitt VA AFSCME
Kelly Duncan A Landscape Services
Mark Heeres A Dining Services
Devin Johnson A Maintenance Services
Vince Renda A Maintenance Services
Mark Weiss A Environmental Health and Safety
Jake Woods A Environmental Health and Safety
In-Person Attendance: (A)
Virtual Attendance: (VA)
Jake Woods previously shared an update from Juanita Snell regarding the public safety concern regarding a situation where a Custodial Services employee’s personal vehicle was broken into while parked in lot #51 (lower Sindecuse Health Center). Laura Weber previously mentioned that University insurance does not cover personal belongings whether they are located in personal or University vehicles. Jake contacted FM Engineering who informed him that one lighting pole in the affected area did have repairs completed on 11-3-22, but that all equipment was now in good operation. Data from a historical lighting survey indicated levels in lot #51 were observed to be adequate. December Committee discussions involved an inquiry for lockable lockers for Custodial Services personnel. Juanita shared that management approved procurement of three lockers but that purchasing efforts with WMU Surplus Sales did not work out due to minimum quantities needed to make a purchase. Juanita’s update stated that she and Gloria Johnson identified lockers currently located at the Bernhard Center that will be repurposed to Sindecuse Health Center prior to its demolition. May committee discussions revealed that additional unused lockers may be available at the Physical Plant; Devin Johnson was going to investigate. Jake will reach out for updated information from Custodial Services to be shared at the June meeting.
Mark Weiss shared an update to the issue involving a request for procurement of an arborist specific first-aid kit that would be available during tree trimming and cutting efforts. Injuries incurred while performing these tasks can potentially be serious requiring special use first aid equipment. Laura Weber previously mentioned that University Libraries may have extra general use first-aid kits they are looking to distribute on campus. Mark stated that he and Landscape Services supervisor, Aaron Dykstra, had discussed the request and identified specific items that should be included in the kit. Mark further investigated and found a specific kit designed for stabilization of traumatic bodily injuries. He is waiting for an update from Landscape Services before purchasing the kit.
Jake Woods shared an update regarding break locations that are used by Custodial Service personnel. It was previously mentioned that some of these spaces are individual rooms/closets where cleaning and other chemicals are stored. Committee members discussed why these areas are being utilized as break locations, chemical/electrical concerns, and whether a survey can be performed to ensure designated break locations are safe to use. Jake opened a dialogue with Custodial Services leadership who informed him that they plan on performing an audit of the break room spaces to make sure that they are suitable for taking breaks, and if they find out they are not, will designate other areas to be utilized.
Jake Woods shared an update regarding obstructions encountered when moving trash to the collection dumpster during home football games. Justin Keech previously stated that a situation occurred last season where the WMU band was blocking the entire driveway causing an obstruction to custodians who were trying to use the collection dumpster. Committee discussions included possible relocation of the collection dumpster, developing a plan of who to contact with issues, passing along current concerns to WMU Athletics/Band, etc. Jake brought the issue to Custodial Services leadership’s attention who informed him that procedures to mitigate waste transportation disruptions were developed and implemented during the last football season. The band is aware that they cannot block the dumpster with either their truck or the equipment as they are loading and that a clear path to the dumpster with a cart must be available. If personnel encounter obstructions on game day their supervisor and/or Laura Cornish should be notified so that they can address the situation.
Jake Woods shared an update from Darrell Junkins regarding a hand railing that was observed to be loose along a walkway near Lawson Ice Arena. Darrell previously investigated and observed significant corrosion to the metal base components of the railing system. He subsequently submitted FM Work Order #LW-100549 requesting repairs/replacement. The committee had discussed reinforcement/repair or full removal as possible solutions. The railing provides security for pedestrians but causes some difficulty for snow plowing. Jake investigated and found that the railing is not providing protection from a MIOSHA-designated fall hazard. The damaged hand rail was removed by Landscape Services personnel.
Jake Woods provided an update to the issue regarding a damaged underground vault cover located in parking lot #37; near the entry of the Kohrman Hall chiller/mechanical room. A replacement, custom-made, cover was manufactured and recently installed flush with the surrounding parking lot; asphalt was used to finish the edges. Parking bollards were also installed (affixed directly to pavement with hardware) around the vault by Maintenance Services personnel.
No new business items were introduced at the May 2023 meeting.
Devin Johnson stated that the final construction punch list is being completed at the new Student Center. WMU Maintenance Services tradespeople and Dining Services personnel will begin onsite training starting May 22nd.
Mark Weiss reminded the committee of the importance of proper hydration and being mindful when working in hot-humid conditions, whether indoors or outdoors. Information on the WMU heat stress program can be found at: https://wmich.edu/ehs/policies/heat-stress. Real-time heat stress measurements can also be found at the FM Weather Page located at: https://www.fm.wmich.edu/ap/weather/. Individuals who would like to receive heat stress text alerts should provide Jake Woods with their mobile phone number and service carrier.
Jake Woods shared that the National Safety Council and OSHA recognize May as National Safety Stand Down to Prevent Falls in Construction Month. This is an annual observance held each year highlighting fall hazard awareness across the country in an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries. Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 378 of the 986 construction fatalities recorded in 2021 (BLS data). Further information can be found at: https://www.osha.gov/stop-falls-stand-down.
The next UMSC meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 13th, 2023 in the shared conference room located on the ground floor of the E.W. Building at 10:00 a.m.; an invitation to attend via video conferencing platform (WebEx) will also be sent out with these minutes. Please send a substitute representative if you are unable to attend.