Some of the pleasures of working at the Lab are its open spaces and walkability. Now that many more people are returning to Lab sites to work, it’s time to re-familiarize ourselves with pedestrian safety. We posed some questions to Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Subject Matter Expert Jonathan Cabrera who shared ways to stay safe while working and walking around the Lab.
Question: What should be top of mind for people who are walking around the Lab’s main site and perhaps are new employees or haven’t been here in a year or more?
Jonathan Cabrera: You know, we have a lot of fun but uneven surfaces up on the Hill. There are some gravel areas as well. The main thing is to be in the moment, take in the natural beauty at the Lab, while also being aware of your surroundings and not be distracted as you’re walking.
To help avoid any sort of slips, trips, or falls, avoid texting, browsing the Internet, or calling someone on your phone while walking around the Lab.
Q: How do you safely navigate all the stairs in and around buildings?
It may sound obvious that using handrails is very important but many people forget that when you’re walking up and down stairs handrails help maintain your balance and are a significant factor in avoiding slips and falls.
The other element is to try not to rush when you’re going up and down the stairs, and if you have to carry things try to have at least one hand available to hover over the handrail or hold on to it.
Q: The Lab is famously walkable, so what are ways for people to stay safe on the sidewalks and roads?
Cabrera: Pedestrians should absolutely be using sidewalks and crosswalks around the Lab. The crosswalks provide a better chance for drivers to notice pedestrians walking across the street and drivers are more likely to expect pedestrians as they approach a crosswalk.
And sidewalks provide a safe, paved area and a buffer from the actual roadway. We definitely encourage employees to always use sidewalks – We understand sometimes they may end abruptly or may not be convenient but they’re simply safer.
Q: What should people be aware of regarding the Lab’s several active construction projects?
Cabrera: From a safety standpoint, be aware of signage when you’re walking near a construction area. If you have to cross the street and you see an oncoming vehicle from a construction site, ensure you’re giving them ample time and room to stop before you cross that street. Lastly, obey traffic flaggers and stop/go signs.
This all goes hand in hand with being aware of your surroundings and using common sense.