UMSC September Minutes

September 2023 Meeting Minutes

The monthly meeting of the Union-Management Safety Committee was conducted on September 12th, 2023 by the Environmental Health and Safety department with the following individuals in attendance:

Josh Balfour A Dining Services
Kathy Cain-Babbitt A AFSCME
Kelly Duncan A Landscape Services
Cory Ghiringhelli A Environmental Health and Safety
Mark Heeres A Dining Services
Darrell Junkins A Landscape Services
Keith Pung A Environmental Health and Safety
Vince Renda A Maintenance Services
Judy Slumkoski A Custodial Services
Juanita Snell A Custodial Services
Laura Weber VA Legal Affairs, Risk, and Compliance
Mark Weiss A Environmental Health and Safety
Jake Woods A Environmental Health and Safety

In-Person Attendance: (A)
Virtual Attendance: (VA)


Justin Keech previously expressed a safety concern involving interior lighting at Miller Auditorium. Justin mentioned that some lighting fixtures have been found to be nonworking or randomly having issues; these include areas such as bathrooms and other spaces without windows. Maintenance Services electricians have been contacted and helped to get isolated issues resolved but the situation appears to be systemic. Jake will contact Maintenance Services for an update to share at the October meeting.

Mark Heeres previously mentioned that the main entry doors, facing Sangren Hall, at the Student Center were observed to close very quickly and open more difficult than expected. Adjustments to the door opening mechanism may be needed. Jake Woods will contact Maintenance Services for an update to share at the October meeting.

Jake Woods shared an update to the safety concern involving an open door at the Bill Brown complex. Custodial Services personnel previously observed an exterior door to be propped open with accompanying active door alarm. Personnel were unsure who had propped the door open, how long the door/alarm had been in its condition, or if any response from Public Safety was to be expected. Jake investigated and opened a dialogue with WMU-DPS. He was informed that there are some doors that are alarmed and monitored by Answer United; other doors are not monitored and have only a local audible alarm that will activate if the door is left open for to long. It was recommended that if Custodial Services arrives at a building and finds an opened door and they feel unsafe, to call the non-emergency dispatch number (269-488-8911) to have an officer respond to investigate. They may also be able to shut the door to disable the alarm.

Mark Weiss shared an update regarding herbicide/pesticide usage safety concerns within the Landscape Services department. Kelly Duncan previously stated that some of the substances being utilized have been recently changed (manufacturer, concentrations, types, etc.) and that employees have not been adequately trained. She also expressed distress with equipment such as measuring cups and other devices not being equally distributed amongst the various Landscape Services regional areas. Mark Weiss spoke with Mark Frever who informed him that some of the pesticides were sourced from different vendors. The active ingredients remained consistent but manufacturer had changed; these changes were made due to supply availability, pricing, and other factors. Landscape Services is to provide EHS with information regarding actively used materials to ensure that proper safety data sheets are available to employees. Further information and safety data sheets can be found at:

Jake Woods provided an update to the safety concern with elevator doors at the Student Center that had been observed by Dining Service personnel. A recent situation occurred where the doors had closed quickly/unexpectedly on an employee which resulted in a contusion injury. It was mentioned during discussion that both of the building’s elevators seem to have the same issue. Jake investigated and opened a dialogue with the Capital Projects group. An elevator technician from Schindler inspected the elevator systems and verified that all sensors were functioning properly. The door closer timer was adjusted from the standard time of 5 seconds (doors close after all obstructions are cleared) to 8 seconds; the changes should help to mitigate the faster than expected closing that was observed.

Juanita Snell shared an update regarding the assessment of break locations which 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. Juanita stated that some of the surveyed locations had chairs and tables mobilized. She concluded by mentioning the assessment phase is in its final stages and that the Dalton Center break location during studio performances situation was resolved.


No updates.


Josh Balfour introduced a security concern at the Student Center involving the lack of lockable doors and the ongoing process of installing lock cores. He mentioned that there are multiple Dining Services areas that should be controlled access which are open and accessible to the general public. Jake Woods will investigate and provide a follow up.

Kelly Duncan introduced a safety issue regarding a suspected sinking storm water drain that is located in the parking lot near the #2415 Western View Apartment building. Kelly stated that the asphalt near the drain is damaged and crumbling; the primary concern is a possibility of snow removal efforts causing further damage. Keith Pung will investigate and provide a follow up.

Kathy Cain-Babbitt expressed concerns regarding a recently blocked off driveway located between the Physical Plant and Stadium Drive. This driveway was heavily utilized by Facilities Management personnel to safely access Eddies Lane. The changes now require any persons leaving the parking lot to enter Stadium Drive and then quickly turn right onto Eddies Lane. Employees feel that these changes have decreased their safety and that they are being punished for the unsafe driving by student athletes that is widely known to occur in these parking lots. It was also mentioned that these changes have caused significant difficulty for the WMU garbage truck who regularly traverses the busy parking lot. The committee discussed alternative methods of increasing safety by prohibiting left-hand turns from Parking Lot #6 onto Stadium Drive as well as increasing Public Safety presence and/or enforcement of safe driving rules. Jake Woods will investigate and provide a follow up.

Juanita Snell shared a building security concern involving the presence of an unauthorized/homeless person who was observed in Rood Hall during early morning hours by Custodial Services personnel. Building custodians immediately contacted public safety upon observing the individual and then secured themselves in a lockable room. DPS responded very quickly and performed a thorough site walkthrough; it was believed the unauthorized person was not found and likely had vacated the building. Juanita also mentioned that a Custodial Services employee had personal items stolen from their vehicle that was parked on campus. She reminded committee members of the importance of keeping personal vehicles locked and valuable items from view.

Mark Heeres expressed a safety concern involving the transition from pavement to granite slab located in the Bronco Mall between Sangren Hall and the Student Center. The two different materials afford varying levels of traction depending on weather conditions. EHS will monitor and track incidents/injuries to determine if further action is necessary.


Laura Weber stated the campus’ new property insurance engineer, David Tiller of Zurich, will be on campus October 17 and 18 performing annual assessments.

Mark Weiss mentioned that a new individual from CompOne was assigned as our campus worker’s compensation program account executive. Please contact Cory Ghiringhelli and/or Mark Weiss with questions.

Junita Snell stated that Custodial Services personnel recently attended annual blood borne pathogen, ladder safety, and asbestos awareness training. Additional training sessions (right to know, active shooter, etc.) were also in the process of being coordinated.

Jake Woods encouraged the committee to be aware that white-tailed deer can present a safety hazard, particularly during their approaching mating season. If you notice a deer approaching you, making grunting noises or stomping its feet, make noise and wave your hands so the deer knows you are there. While deer mostly appear to be gentle animals, you have to remember that they are wild creatures that can be unpredictable. Further information can be found at:

Jake Woods shared that the National Safety Council recognizes September as Emergency Preparedness Month. This is an annual observance held each year highlighting awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies that could happen at any time. Further information can be found at:

The next UMSC meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 10th, 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.

Published: 9/25/2023