Safety team formed to improve campus

Mercyhurst College has been taking extra safety precautions and has developed a safety team.

The idea was developed by the Human Resources Department, and from there a nine-person team was created this past spring.

The members of the team include employees, management and staff, which consists of Irene Boyles, secretary of the education department; Carl Voltz, laboratory manager of the chemistry department; Elizabeth Morgan, administrative assistant of the athletics department; Roy Ridondelli, deputy chief of Police & Safety; Rick Sadlier, fire safety officer; Michele Bille, administrative assistant from the human resources department; Jim Tometsko, director of human resources; Ken Stepherson from the maintenance department; and Larry Kerr from Aramark.

Bille said the team will be beneficial for the college in order to “decrease the insurance rates and have a safer environment,” she said.

The team was trained under the instruction of an Erie Insurance representative to promote safety and health. The representative told the team about hazard investigation and safety inspection procedures.

The training involved informative processes and procedures lessons to help make the campus safer. The team learned how to identify hazards and how to conduct an investigation.

The team is in the process of certification through the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Bureau.

The idea of the program is to look at ways to decrease injury and illness by doing investigations and looking at how to address the issues. With this kind of knowledge it will help keep students safer on campus. The team will also help give students better access to the buildings.

“We’re just getting started, but the potential is limitless,” Tometsko said.

Mercyhurst students seem to approve of the measure.

“I think the team is a great idea because the administration wants to keep the students safe and secure,” junior Kyle Lawton said.

Junior Kaylyn Stack said, “School safety isn’t something we give much thought about on a daily basis, so having a team looking out for us doesn’t alleviate all of my worries, but it definitely makes me feel more secure.”

Several projects to increase safety on campus have already been completed.

A sinkhole behind the Grotto was repaired to avoid the chance of someone tripping or falling, and the handicap ramp behind Old Main was fixed. Cracked and potentially hazardous sidewalks were fixed along with broken handicap buttons.

“As a member of this team, my training in hazardous materials handling, and lab safety protocol plays one part in the overall expertise of the team. It is the hope of the team that students of Mercyhurst will benefit from a safer school environment,” Voltz said.

Committee members will change annually, so new ideas and thoughts will be brought to the team each year.