Safety and Security recently released a notice titled “Safe Walking Tips” to MyAllegheny. The notice includes helpful, common-sense tips that advise Allegheny residents not to rush or to be distracted by their cell phones while walking through snow or ice.
After these preliminary tips, the advice gets a little weird. The notice suggests walking flat footed and pointing your feet out slightly to avoid falling. Even if you do fall, the sign has you covered. The general idea is to walk and fall like a penguin would.
“Try to avoid landing on your knees, wrists, or spine,” the notice said. “Attempt to fall on a fleshy part of your body, such as your side.”
It is important to note that this notice takes most of its information from a workman’s compensation website (ccd.fnal.gov). As students of a private institution, we are best advised to avoid putting ourselves at risk of incidents that may lead us to file insurance claims.
The effectiveness of these safety precautions are 100 percent on us. Unshoveled Ravine stairs can easily be navigated if we follow these safety tips. Unlit sidewalks are not a challenge for the seasoned “penguin.”
Personally, I feel like this sign is a copout. It is a quick way to silence any complaints by reminding students to follow these safety tips. Of course, the notice has some informational value. Students from warmer states like Florida and California may have little experience dealing with a large amount of snow.
However, for students such as myself who dealt with more than 100 inches of snow last year, we know that the most important thing is the quality of the treatment to our walkways. The shoveling, plowing and salting that follows greatly improve the quality of walkways and sometimes prevent the need to change our walking routine.
Clearing walkways is a lot of work. My experience shoveling the previously mentioned snow taught me this. I greatly appreciate the work of Allegheny’s Physical Plant.
However, in some areas they seem to fall flat. In particular, I have noticed that stairways and, more surprisingly, the path from North Main to the Campus Center seem to take much longer to be cleared. This creates dangerous areas where even the most experienced “penguin” can slip and fall on icy surfaces.
I do not have a definitive solution to this problem. Perhaps the school needs to hire more workers for Physical Plant during the winter, or even consider hiring some students to shovel certain areas following bigger storms.
A “Safe Walking Tips” notice may inform a few inexperienced students but it certainly does not shovel the sidewalks.