PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University released today a risk assessment and safety evaluation of its residence halls on the WSU Pullman campus.
After serious injury to a student in August 2017, WSU retained an independent consultant, Safety Management Resources Corporation, to complete the assessment.
“One accident is too many,” said Mary Jo Gonzales, vice president for student affairs. “We never want to see a student get hurt. This is why we wanted an honest, objective assessment.”
The report was part of an action plan to complete a comprehensive evaluation of fall risks and to make specific recommendations for consideration. The review examined approximately 5,000 windows of various styles and configurations in the residence halls on the Pullman campus.
The report found that serious injuries related to students falling from windows of college-owned facilities are quite rare nationwide. Most previous injuries reported from these types of accidents in the WSU Pullman community occurred off-campus at facilities the university does not own.
Based on the findings and observations of Safety Management Resources Corporation, WSU will implement the following recommendations prior to the start of the fall semester 2018:
- require the use of a side rail for all bunk or lofted beds, separating beds from any nearby windows
- conduct inspections of each room soon after move-in for the purpose of identifying safety issues early in the semester
- conduct a review of current policies, practices, and procedures related to the requirement for prior approval of bunking or lofting of beds
- provide additional written guidelines and policies related to the use and placement of lofted and bunked beds
- ensure messages and information given to students about policies and guidance related to window safety and use of bunked and lofted beds is consistent and clear
- continue cohesive education and information campaigns related to the prevention of unintentional falls from windows and other elevated areas as part of ongoing safety trainings in residence halls. Education will also be developed for all on-campus housing facilities.
“The safety of our students, faculty, and staff is one of our highest priorities,” Gonzales said. “These recommendations support our commitment in ensuring our residential facilities provide a safe space for students.”
The full risk assessment and safety evaluation report is available on the Student Affairs website at https://www.studentaffairs.wsu.edu/about-us/program-review-and-assessment/.
- Phil Weiler, vice president for marketing and communication, 509-335-4742, firstname.lastname@example.org