Today at Berkeley Lab

Heed the Messages Around the Lab to Limit Falls While Walking

Pedestrian injuries due to trips and falls are on the rise at the Lab and worldwide. To address this issue, the city of Honolulu is now fining people for viewing their smart phones while crossing the street. Amsterdam has embedded LED-illuminated strips in crosswalks. At the Lab, chalk stencils remind staff to “Walk Mindfully,” “Pocket Your Phone,” and “Hold the Rail.” More>

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  1. Preston Jordan says:

    About four years ago a guest visiting from the Bureau of Land Management stepped on the edge of the curb on the road side of the walkway while we were walking past the NCEM on Lawrence Road. She fell. The resulting injury to her knee required surgery to ameliorate to the extent possible given current technology.

    It seemed there were two contributory factors. One was that we were talking in a group, which diverted attention from walking. The second is that the sidewalk in this location, as in many locations at the lab, consists of asphalt. Consequently visually discerning the edge of this walkway against the edge of the also asphalt street is more difficult visually and a less common mental task than discerning the edge of a concrete sidewalk against an asphalt roadway.

    This situation has been recognized in some locations around the lab by the evidence of striping applied to the top of the curb. However older asphalt walkways, such as the one on Lawrence Road by the NCEM, generally lacked such striping at the time.

    I was subsequently invited to join an committee advising the lab on planning report for active transportation safety improvements (active transportation is all modes where the traveler themselves supplying the energy to get around). I successfully advocated for the lab to include striping the top of all curbs between asphalt walkways and roadways as a measure in the report.

    Perhaps this has been done on the walkway by the NCEM by now, but as of the last time I passed there it had not, even though more than three years had passed. This is such a simple fix. Having made the effort to identify this hazard, then volunteered for a lab committee and successfully raised concern about this hazard, it is discouraging to my participation in the safety culture to see no action on the ground year after year.

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